On a recent Saturday, in the beginning of July, 15 young women and men gathered in the conference room of the Katchikel hotel annex for a special workshop funded by Friends of FORMA. The students were anxious to learn and eager to pay close attention to the topic of the full day training. No one had to convince these serious, earnest students that what they were in store for in the day’s sessions would be extremely important to their future. They fully understood its importance, but that didn’t stop them from feeling shy and nervous to speak openly and ask questions about a normally taboo topic. These students gathered to attend a Sex Education workshop.
Forjando Mi Mañana (FORMA GUATEMALA) director, Candelaria Xep, arranged for the workshop for these 15 scholarship students. The presenters were from a group called ALAS (WINGS) http://www.wingsguate.org/ whose mission is “to create opportunities for Guatemalan families to improve their lives through family planning education and access to reproductive health services.” The workshops included breakout sessions, group discussions, and several maturely and professionally communicated presentations that covered important topics:
- Sexual and reproductive rights based on the human rights proclamation of 1948.
- Sexual and reproductive health: physically, emotionally, mentally and socially
- Gender definitions and different roles assigned by society
- Dangers in pregnancy especially to young, undernourished mothers
- Family planning and how it affects all aspects of family life like nutrition, education, distribution of income, attention to children, clothing, housing etc.
- Differences in male and female physiology
- Methods of contraception
During the workshop, various students were entrusted with the weighty responsibility of caring for an infant child (actually a mechanical doll). It supplied a laugh and a chance for ribbing among friends; and at the same time, it provided an eye-opener about the real demands of parenthood.
In addition to the delicious lunch and the enjoyment of spending the day among friends, all the students left the workshop thoughtful; they learned much and had many questions answered. All agreed it was a Saturday they would remember.