Young people and indigenous adolescents are a segment of the population not served by governmental institutions in the Mixe region of Oaxaca. Access to secondary education and beyond is limited, as is access to job opportunities. It is common for young people to migrate in search of work. Early marriage is common, especially among boys and girls from migrant families. During adolescence, boys and girls do not receive appropriate education on sexuality, reproduction, and nonviolent relationships. There is much fear, shame, and embarrassment surrounding these issues, which are considered private. Young people lack significant information and knowledge to enable them to reflect on their own human rights, their sexuality, reproductive health, and a life free of violence. Dating violence is prevalent, as is unwanted pregnancy at an early age. Preeclampsia-eclampsia in pregnancy is the leading cause of maternal death in the region, and there is a high incidence of HPV, HIV, cervical cancer, and breast cancer.
A study done by the Coordination of Gender Equality in the Municipality of San Juan Guichicovi found that 50% of men force their wives to have sex, 37% of women have experienced sexual harassment. Girls do not have enough information regarding their bodies, and do not know how to care for their bodies during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum. Lack of knowledge leads to a lack of exercising their reproductive rights, their right to decide about their bodies, their right to live free from violence – these are the leading causes of pregnancy. Women in these rural communities often lead a life full of frustrations and a society plagued by violence.
Naaxwiin was officially formed in 2000 by 6 indigenous women from the Mixe region of Oaxaca who sought social change for indigenous women, breaking away from a wider organization of men and women in order to promote the rights and integral development of indigenous women. They are recognized in the region and the state of Oaxaca as an indigenous women’s organization that works with women to exercise their rights and have been recognized by UN Women as pioneers in their model of care and violence prevention strategies for indigenous women taking a gender/rights perspective. They provide information, advice, training, education, do prevention work, and offer treatment and support in legal and health matters, enabling women to change their lives and create a social and family environment characterized by equity and justice.
Primary Location: Oaxaca
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