Motherhood Midst the Duties of a NPH Caregiver
A mother and caregiver reflects on working at NPH and raising her own family.
May 4, 2018 - Honduras
Otilia has worked as a full-time caregiver, or ‘tia’ for our children for more than 16 years. After all of that time, and through raising a daughter of her own, she naturally knows a thing or two about raising children in Honduras.
“I have worked with over 100 children here, but it is a difference when you have your child,” she explains about the birth of her daughter and her time working for NPH Honduras.
Her daughter, who is now in middle school in a nearby community, is a diligent student and independent minded.
“I am lucky that she has always been very resourceful and independent. She gets her homework done and helps around the house. Not all families are as lucky as we have been,” she explains.
For those children who are younger or need specialized attention in Honduras, childcare is hard to find. In fact, a study showed that less than 19% of children participate in any early childhood education. For many mothers, this means deciding between a career and rearing children in a country where the average mother has between two and three children.
“I was fortunate to have my family to support me after I had my daughter. Occasionally, my daughter comes with me to work when she does not have school, but it is sporadic,” Otilia continues.
Tia Otilia, who is leaving for maternity leave to have her second child, her first boy, is excited to spend three months away with her newborn.
In a country where over 70% of the jobs are in the informal economy, these types of worker protections and benefits are rare and make getting a position particularly tricky for women starting a family.
“Most of the people I know do not have the opportunity to leave for so long as I do, or they become stay at home mothers. Often people are replaced if they cannot find daycare,” confirms Otilia.
Mothers in Honduras must also help their children avoid many pitfalls in life. Gang violence plagues the country, strongly affecting children and women in particular.
“You are always worried about not being with your child, that is part of being a mother. Our community is pretty safe, but that is not true everywhere,” she reflects.
In addition to the organized crime that plagues the country, finding adequate healthcare can be a significant struggle for mothers. While those directly associated with the NPH family can find care in our internal clinic, and our external clinic provides medical care for low income residents of the surrounding communities, many parts of Honduras see as few as two doctors to every 10,000 inhabitants.
“It is difficult to find clinics and other medical consults for children. Many times, people have to choose between an appointment for themselves and their children.”
Public health is also an issue, with more than 32,000 people affected by Zika before the government called a state of emergency. Additionally, providing food is a struggle for mothers in Honduras, with a UN report showing that “Over one-third of infants [in Honduras] are malnourished.”
None the less, Tia Otilia is excited for the arrival of the newest member of her family. "I have a happy and hardworking daughter. I plan to raise a son that is the same way."