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»A place that enables me to live« Mexico: a new home for girls and young women

»Ipoderac means home for me,« says Elizabeth.
»A place where I can be safe from many awful things.«
The 14-year-old is happy to have finally found safety
and shelter. Since the middle of last year, she has
lived in the children’s and youth home in Atlixco near
the city of Puebla. The project offers a new home to
72 girls and young women. Most of them do not like to
talk about where they come from and what they have
experienced. Many of them have experienced sexualised
violence, have had to leave their families and have
since then lived in the street. Or they are orphans.
At Ipoderac they can work through their own difficult
past and create future prospects for themselves.

A precondition for a good future is going to school and
getting some training. Ipoderac cooperates with nine
schools in the community. Some of the girls who are
new to the home can start directly at a regular school.
From time to time, however, there are children and
young people who have to catch up on a lot of material
or need a great deal of support to be able to manage
at school. The teenagers help one another and meet
regularly for discussions about their successes and
difficulties. They work through their often deep-seated
traumas with trained professionals in groups and
individual sessions.

Standing on their own feet

Ipoderac, which is supported by the Volkswagen Workforce
Foundation, would like to enable young women
to fulfil their wish to stand on their own feet in later
life. They take part in application training, and receive
vocational advice and support when looking for a job.
And they can do training directly on the grounds: the
project’s own dairy, carpenter’s shop or small soap factory
offers many opportunities for work and continuing
education. It is important for the young people themselves
to decide what they would like to do. Anyone
who does not find the right thing on the spot can also
choose vocational training in a company in Atlixco.
»I have found a home here and a space in which I can
think about my future,« Elizabeth says. »Here I have
many things I didn’t have before. This is a very nice
place that enables me to study and above all to live.
I feel happy here.«

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