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Christian Rodríguez Exploring issues related to gender and identity, human rights, and underrepresented communities. @TED Fellow https://www.ted.com/talks/christian_rodriguez_what_teen_pregnancy_looks_like_in_latin_america
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Video by @christian_foto ( christian rodriguez ) you can see this story in @natgeo magazine’s february issue. "bebé, piénsalo bien" (baby, think it over) is an educational program which was created with the intention of bringing s****l and reproductive education to young people by spreading awareness about pregnancy and family planning. for one week during school, students receive valuable s****l and reproductive health education by taking care of robot babies which imitate the behaviors of a five month old infant. they must tend to their basic needs by feeding them, changing their diapers, alleviating their stomach pains, and calming them down when they cry. these babies represent 7 different ethnicities (caucasian, american indian, hispanic, light skinned and dark skinned african american, asian, and japanese). i followed various students as they completed this assignment by taking care of their own robot baby, and saw firsthand the way this experience greatly heightened their awareness and thinking towards having children at a young age. one thing which caught my attention was just how much the value and importance of this program was emphasized, as the students’ performance in this project had an effect on their grades for the rest of the school year. one of the homework assignments that the students had to complete, which was part of the family planning portion, was to figure out the costs of all the necessities for their baby, such as diapers and formula. this, to me, seemed to be a very interesting way to convey the various difficulties that come with having a child at a young age. without a doubt, education is key to breaking the cycles of teen pregnancy. this program has demonstrated great success, reducing the rates of adolescent parenthood by nearly 35% in the areas in which it is used. to get to know more about the teen mom project, follow @christian_foto . #teenmom #latinamerica

comment 46 star 1,624 3 days ago

​photo by @christian_foto ( christian rodriguez ) mexico is one of the countries in which i feel the most comfortable. mexico city is an incredible place, home to an intense yet balanced mix of love and hate. to move from one point to another can often be a very difficult task depending on where you live, but can you imagine spending four or five hours each day of your life just to get to work? the chilangos (natives of mexico city) spend up to 45 days per year in traffic. ​surely the man in this photo has decided it's not an issue for him to spend a couple more hours resting. #chilangos #traffic #mexicocity

comment 38 star 1,448 5 days ago

Video by @christian_foto ( christian rodríguez ) people in low socio-economic positions are commonly thought of as worse off based on the idea that having more money makes someone's situation objectively better. however, this not necessarily the case. economic inequality is one of the many ways in which people may be thought of or treated as inferior, yet an individual who lives in an economically privileged situation is not necessarily happier than one who doesn't. people frequently believe that the only way to measure someone's well-being is by their economic status. however, there are many ways in which the wealth of a person can be evaluated. the dignity of a single mother facing difficult circumstances should be defined not in pity, but in the admiration of her strength and capacity to overcome these challenges. view of bellavista neighbourhood. #poverty #sexualviolence #colombia video by @christian_foto ( christian rodríguez )

comment 22 star 1,053 2 weeks ago

Photo by @christian_foto ( christian rodríguez ) “if you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. but if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together. " lilla watson it is easy to fall into the emotions of pity which often emerge when working with human rights issues in underrepresented communities. pity is something that occurs when someone sees the circumstances of another from afar, and mistakenly believes this to mean that they are in a position of superiority over another . by not fully understanding a situation, pity can become a major obstacle impeding appropriate and beneficial action to those who need it. on the other hand, compassion allows us to understand someone else’s pain by means of the empathy we experience, motivating us to act with the intention to alleviate the pain of others as if it was our own. johanna mosquera (35 years old) massages her daughter michell (16 years old), who is 6 months pregnant. the father of michell’s baby is twice her age and lives in a different neighborhood with his wife and children. i had the opportunity to meet this family through the ngo niñas sin miedo @ninassinmiedo (girls without fear), which works to prevent s****l violence and unwanted teenage pregnancy in latin america. johanna's family, like many others, has fallen victim to s****l violence, but they find support through their religious community and this ngo. johanna lives with 6 of her 8 daughters. nicoll (13 years old) is at a child protection home and wendy (19 years old) lives with her boyfriend. #sexualviolence #colombia

comment 82 star 3,603 2 weeks ago

Photo by @christian_foto ( christian rodríguez ) johanna mosquera (35 years old) is a single mother of 8 girls. she lives in the neighborhood bellavista, located at the border between bogota and the municipality of soacha. she was sexually abused by her stepfather for many years and when she was 14 she decided to run away from home. three of her daughters have also been sexually abused. in colombia there are many elements which together create an environment that make silence the most common response to s****l violence against young girls, without addressing the crime or trauma that comes as a consequence. these factors include the lack of the presence of the state in the majority of the country’s territory, the conditions of poverty and marginalization, media culture and the hypersexualization of women’s bodies, the strict gender roles that trap women in positions of subordination, and the taboo and stigma attached to topics related to s*x and sexuality. these elements all contribute to the formation of an environment which takes away power from women and puts young girls at an extremely high risk of experiencing s****l violence. #sexualviolence #colombia

comment 43 star 2,483 2 weeks ago

Photo by @christian_foto ( christian rodríguez ) i was r***d before the age of nine. i did everything i could to try to forget the traumatic experience and never think about it again. i wanted to bury the memory as far down as it could go in the deepest part of my mind because of all of the overwhelming fear and shame it brought upon me. i continued on with my life the best i could, alone, with all the strength i was able to muster up as a young boy. as i grew up and began to reflect back upon my own experience, i discovered that some friends of mine had gone through the very same thing. i began to realize that what had happened to me was in fact not an isolated incident, but a much larger issue that was affecting many other people. i was born in a poor neighborhood in montevideo, with all of the typical limitations that often go hand in hand with low socioeconomic conditions. however, with the love and support i received from my grandparents, along with my own determination to improve the reality i grew up in, i was given the strength and encouragement to follow my dreams. i always thought that when you have nothing to lose, you do everything you can to fight for the causes you believe in. my personal projects have always been closely related to and guided by my own life experiences. because of this, i am here in colombia, working with a new project dealing with the s****l abuse of young girls and boys in latin america. thanks to the support of the ngo niñas sin miedo @ninassinmiedo (girls without fear), we are working here in "comuna 4", bellavista neighborhood in bogotá. young girls and adolescents are the population group at the highest risk of experiencing s****l violence in colombia. on average, 85% of the female victims of s****l violence between 2014 and 2016 in colombia were between 0 and 17 years. in 2016, 12,820 adolescents were victims of s****l assault. #sexualviolence #colombia

comment 100 star 3,249 3 weeks ago

Photo by @christian_foto ( christian rodriguez ) you can see this story in @natgeo magazine’s february issue. "bebé, piénsalo bien" (baby, think it over) is an educational program which was created with the intention of bringing s****l and reproductive education to young people by spreading awareness about pregnancy and family planning. for one week during school, students receive valuable s****l and reproductive health education by taking care of robot babies which imitate the behaviors of a five month old infant. they must tend to their basic needs by feeding them, changing their diapers, alleviating their stomach pains, and calming them down when they cry. these babies represent 7 different ethnicities (caucasian, american indian, hispanic, light skinned and dark skinned african american, asian, and japanese). i followed various students as they completed this assignment by taking care of their own robot baby, and saw firsthand the way this experience greatly heightened their awareness and thinking towards having children at a young age. one thing which caught my attention was just how much the value and importance of this program was emphasized, as the students’ performance in this project had an effect on their grades for the rest of the school year. without a doubt, education is key to breaking the cycles of teen pregnancy. this program has demonstrated great success, reducing the rates of adolescent parenthood by nearly 35% in the areas in which it is used. to get to know more about the teen mom project, follow @christian_foto . sara gomez ( 13 years old ) calms her baby at 3:00 am in her home in guamal, located in meta municipality, colombia. she lives with her parents ( juan carlos gomez lozano (48) and diana shirley ariza giraldo (38)), along with as her young brother ( juan jose gomez ariza (5) #teenmom #acacias #tame #colombia

comment 31 star 2,456 3 weeks ago

Photo by @christian_foto ( christian rodriguez ) you can see this story in @natgeo magazine’s february issue. we must first work to provide easier access to contraceptive methods and normalize their usage without the heavy stigma and judgement that is often attached to them. in addition, we must teach young men the responsibilities of a good father, which is a job to be highly respected rather than shamed. educational programs should always focus on both genders and not just women. in impoverished neighborhoods ridden with poverty and lacking in opportunity, motherhood is often viewed as the only viable life project for young girls. it is very challenging to change something so rooted in one’s culture, history, and socioeconomic situation. however, the program "bebé, piensalo bien" (baby, think it over) has proven to be extremely successful in changing this reality facing young people today in colombia. students at santo domingo school during s****l and reproductive education classes. they learn how tu use a c****m and different methods of fertility regulation. acacias, meta, colombia. #teenmom #fatherhood #colombia #tame

comment 24 star 1,588 3 weeks ago

Photo by @christian_foto ( christian rodriguez ) you can see this story in @natgeo magazine’s february issue. fatherhood is not a very highly respected role in latin america due to the lack of trust in a man’s abilities to take care of his children. it is believed by both genders that the responsibility of parenting should always fall on the shoulders of the women. our culture perpetuates these gender stereotypes by continuing to promote the unwavering role of the fathers as breadwinners and mothers as the ones who take care of domestic life. working to educate young people is the key to breaking the cycle of teenage pregnancy. i believe that educating young boys and creating environments in which they are able to break the macho stereotypes perpetuating a sexist society is fundamental in achieving this goal. we must first work to provide easier access to contraceptive methods and normalize their usage without the heavy stigma and judgement that is often attached to them. in addition, we must teach young men the responsibilities of a good father, which is a job to be highly respected rather than shamed. educational programs should always focus on both genders and not just women. in impoverished neighborhoods ridden with poverty and lacking in opportunity, motherhood is often viewed as the only viable life project for young girls. it is very challenging to change something so rooted in one’s culture, history, and socioeconomic situation. however, the program "bebé, piensalo bien" (baby, think is over) has proven to be extremely successful in changing this reality facing young people today in colombia. as a part of the story i produced for @natgeo magazine, i had the opportunity to follow jeffrin steven bayon (15 years old) as he took care of his own robot baby for 48 hours. he goes to the tame school, in the city of tame, in arauca, colombia. he has been living with his two siblings and sleeps in the same room of his sister geraldine bayona. the family sells fish in the local market every morning. students at his school attend s****l education classes for five days, from 6:30 a.m to 1:00 pm, learning how to use methods of contraception. #fatherhood

comment 44 star 2,680 3 weeks ago

Photo by @christian_foto ( christian rodriguez ) you can see this story in @natgeo magazine’s february issue. through the teen mom project, regarding our work with the epidemic of adolescent pregnancy in latin america, we wish to share with the world not simply the problems at hand, but also their solutions. "bebé, piénsalo bien" (baby, think it over) is an educational program which was created with the intention of bringing s****l and reproductive education to young people by spreading awareness about pregnancy and family planning. for one week during school, students receive valuable s****l and reproductive health education by taking care of robot babies which imitate the behaviors of a five month old infant. they must tend to their basic needs by feeding them, changing their diapers, alleviating their stomach pains, and calming them down when they cry. these babies represent 7 different ethnicities (caucasian, american indian, hispanic, light skinned and dark skinned african american, asian, and japanese). i followed various students as they completed this assignment by taking care of their own robot baby, and saw firsthand the way this experience greatly heightened their awareness and thinking towards having children at a young age. one thing which caught my attention was just how much the value and importance of this program was emphasized, as the students’ performance in this project had an effect on their grades for the rest of the school year. one of the homework assignments that the students had to complete, which was part of the family planning portion, was to figure out the costs of all the necessities for their baby, such as diapers and formula. this, to me, seemed to be a very interesting way to convey the various difficulties that come with having a child at a young age. without a doubt, education is key to breaking the cycles of teen pregnancy. this program has demonstrated great success, reducing the rates of adolescent parenthood by nearly 35% in the areas in which it is used. to get to know more about the teen mom project, follow @christian_foto . #meta #teenmom #colombia

comment 55 star 2,726 3 weeks ago

Photo by @christian_foto (christian rodriguez ) this photo is part of the teen mom project in colombia, published in @natgeo magazine’s february issue. eduardo galeano used to say the following about latin america: “if one views something from above and afar, they will surely not understand it. they don’t understand it for a reason, and ours is that the region in which we live is probably the most diverse in the world. it is the homeland of human diversity. that in itself, to me, is a virtue, but seen from above and outside, it is considered to be a great fault. ” when i publish images and stories for my teen mom project, there often emerges a number of negative comments. i constantly see people blaming the mothers, saying either that these girls are asking for it or that they are too precocious. others blame the fathers for not taking on the responsibility of stepping into strong paternal roles or for trying to escape these daunting realities rather than face them. it is very easy to judge another’s situation from above and afar. there are many factors that affect the realities that come with adolescent pregnancy, and without a doubt, the great social inequalities and lack of opportunities in this region of the world often turns a child into the only seemingly viable life project. this is also in a culture that does not appreciate or appropriately value the incredibly significant role of fatherhood. education is the key to breaking the cycles of teenage pregnancy. we need more programs like the one i documented in colombia for national geographic, which has since succeeded in reducing the rates of teen pregnancy by nearly 35%. investing in education is incredibly profitable for latin american countries, as reduced rates of teen pregnancy and economic productivity are directly correlated. with each 10% increase of girls attending school, a country’s gdp rises 3%. ana sofía and maría juliana gonzález (both 12 years old) attend the program "bebé, piénsalo bien" ( baby, think it over) at the "francisco de paula santander" school, located in antonio nariño, a suburb of bogota, colombia. they live with their grandmother in bogota. #teenmom #colombia

comment 88 star 3,632 4 weeks ago

Photo by @christian_foto ( christian rodriguez ) lovers in boca chica beach .boca chica is a public beach 30 km from santo domingo in "andrés bay" and one of the most popular beaches for young people and families. some dominicans tend to adapt "kitipós" (very loud speakers ) to their cars and play music in open places like boca chica beach. #dominucanrepublic #teenager #youngculture #teenmom #bocachica photo by @christian_foto ( christian rodriguez )

comment 40 star 3,141 4 weeks ago

Photo by @christian_foto ( christian rodriguez ) sending love from dominican republic 🇩🇴.boca chica is a public beach 30 km from santo domingo in "andrés bay" and one of the most popular beaches for young people and families. some dominicans tend to adapt "kitipós" (very loud speakers ) to their cars and play music in open places like boca chica beach. #dominucanrepublic #teenager #youngculture #teenmom #bocachica photo by @christian_foto ( christian rodriguez )

comment 68 star 2,605 4 weeks ago

Photo by @christian_foto ( christian rodriguez ) teenagers take a picture in boca chica while a street seller from haiti watches them. boca chica is a public beach 30 km from santo domingo in "andrés bay" and one of the most popular beaches for young people and families. some dominicans tend to adapt "kitipós" (very loud speakers ) to their cars and play music in open places like boca chica beach. #dominucanrepublic #teenager #youngculture #teenmom #bocachica photo by @christian_foto ( christian rodriguez )

comment 19 star 2,246 4 weeks ago

Photo by @christian_foto ( christian rodriguez ) “the construction of our masculinity has made the role of fathers invisible.” as a part of the teen mom project in the dominican republic, we have interviewed elaine féliz @elainefeliz1 , a s****l educator and journalist that works to provide the public with access to information about s****l and reproductive rights. she has spoken to us about the role of teenage fathers and why in the dominican republic, these young men are often not present. "we have given too much importance to the role of mothers. we have said that there is no one like a mother, that mothers are more competent in terms of taking care of their children. in a sexist society where we teach young boys that all duties related to taking care of children belong to the women, we continue to make the role of the fathers invisible. in this society, the father is simply there to provide his s***m and money for his family. to be a strong man is to also be a good father. we must begin to teach young people that being a good father only enriches your life as a man. they are often blind to the true value of fatherhood." photo: josé emanuel mora became a father at 16 years old. since then, he has worked during the day to help his 16 year old wife as a “motoconcho” (moto-taxi driver) and goes to high school at night to finish his secondary studies. “i also have the commitment to my wife of picking up milk and diapers for my child,” he says. #teenmom #teenfather #teenager #santodomingo #dominicanrepublic photo by @christian_foto ( christian rodríguez )

comment 36 star 1,501 last month

Photo by @christian_foto ( christian rodriguez ) this image is apart of the teen mom project a series on teen pregnancy in latin america. this last year has been amazing for the project in exposing the reality of teen pregnancy. i have many plans for 2018 and the start of the year has brought me to the dominican republic, where teen pregnancy in the caribbean has it’s highest rates. i wanted to explore the roles of young fathers in the dominican republic, but i found out quickly that this is not an easy task. teenage fathers seem to be absent from the lives of the teen mothers i met here. some fathers prefer to not be interviewed and/or photographed because they don't want other women to know they have children and most of the fathers break up with/leave these young women when they find out they are pregnant. the second reason noted above was the case for juliana martinez (16 years old), shown in the photograph. she had met the father of her child at 13 in a “colmado” (local hang out/bar) and also became mother at 14. the man used to have juliana do household chores for him like washing his clothes and washing his dishes. when he found out juliana was pregnant he abandoned responsibility and no longer speaks to juliana. when asked where she thought the father of her child has gone she explained that she has not seen him in a while and she assumed he is probably at home with his wife. juliana said she used to go out a lot before having her baby, but now she is in charge of much more chores and cooks often. juliana’s days are filled with the everyday tasks of motherhood. on sunday’s juliana goes to class from 7 am - 3 pm at her local school and gets help watching her daughter by her older sister. she dreams of becoming an aircraft mechanic or a dentist. #teenmon #latinamerica #tedfellow #dominicana #dominicanrepublic photo by @christian_foto ( christian rodríguez )

comment 46 star 2,335 last month

Photo by @christian_foto this image is apart of the teen mom project a series on teen pregnancy in latin america. this last year has been amazing for the project in exposing the reality of teen pregnancy. my @ted talk opened many doors for me and truly brought more attention to this project that is so dear to me. this last year alone, i gave more than one hundred national/international interviews on this subject matter. when i first began this project, six years ago, traditional media did not have teen mom issues in latin america on their priority list whatsoever, but i knew this was too important to give up on. so for the past six years i have been working hard at highlighting this reality and i am proud to say that my project is proving to be effective in bringing attention towards this issue. new ideas are being discussed with my team and we hope to bring about positive change. i have many plans for 2018 and the start of the year has brought me to the dominican republic, where teen pregnancy in the caribbean has it’s highest rates. i wanted to explore the roles of young fathers in the dominican republic, but i found out quickly that this is not an easy task. teenage fathers seem to be completely absent from the lives of the teen mothers i met here. some fathers prefer to not be interviewed and/or photographed because they don't want other women to know they have children and most of the fathers break up with/leave these young women when they find out they are pregnant. the second reason noted above was the case for juliana martinez (16 years old), shown in the photograph. she had met the father of her child at 13 in a “colmado” (local hang out/bar). the married man was 31 years old. every time she would go out he would flirt with her and she found herself falling for him. when he found out juliana was pregnant he abandoned responsibility and no longer speaks to juliana. juliana’s days are filled with the everyday tasks of motherhood. she dreams of becoming an aircraft mechanic or a dentist. #teenmom #tedfellow #dominicana #santodomingo

comment 133 star 5,953 last month

Photo by @christian_foto (christian rodriguez ) view of olivia river. it crosses the wide carbajal valley, a space covered with peat bogs between two chains of the andes, forming meanders and maintaining an east-southeast direction.the function of the peatlands benefit the city ushuaia because they ensure that potable water is available during dry seasons, they regulate water runoff from the mountains around and reduce the possibility of flooding by dampening the riverbeds. #ushuaia #argentina #southamerica #oliviariver #valley #andes photo by @christian_foto (christian rodriguez )

comment 54 star 5,508 last month

Photo by @christian_foto (christian rodriguez ) crossing the wide carbajal valley, maintaining it's east-southeast direction is olivia river. forming many meanders it is also covered with peat bogs between two chains of the andes. these peat bogs of tierra del fuego are the southernmost concentration of peat in the world. it's importance lies mainly in the it's capacity to retain carbon, which then contributes to the mitigation of climate change. the worlds peat bogs only cover 3% of our planet's surface, but they contain twice the amount of carbon than our total global forest biomass. the function of the peatlands benefit the city ushuaia because they ensure that potable water is available during dry seasons, they regulate water runoff from the mountains around and reduce the possibility of flooding by dampening the riverbeds. #ushuaia #argentina #southamerica

comment 44 star 4,291 last month

Photo by @christian_foto ( christian rodríguez ) working with your child is not the best choice for every person. often times it is extremely difficult, seemingly unproductive and very exhausting. however, i really believe it has the potential to be a positive experience for both parent & child! in order to maintain clients and to ensure solid work you must be able to determine beforehand which travel destinations are appropriate for your child to go on. again i will note that i am from uruguay yet i live in mexico. this is not where my family resides, so salvador has his mother and myself as his main caregivers. occasionally we have had nannies watch our son, but this is not the norm for us. that is why salvador since a young age has usually joined me on my work travel assignments. i personally need to have my hands free at most times, so it is important that i properly carry salva in a way that allows me to do this. up until a month ago he was held in a carrying wrap in front of me. now that he is older i strap him to my back so he can see everything in front and around him! simplify as much as possible. it is important to properly plan and to only pack your most essential gear for the shoot. i prefer to travel light, so i bring compact equipment, my cellphone, one camera lens, sometimes a drone, diapers (so essential), food-snacks & salvador’s bottle. weather conditions could change at any moment when you are in a new place so pack some extra clothes. car sickness is another factor to consider when traveling with your small son or daughter . your child may feel bad at any moment and you have to be willing to leave and finish at another time. always use your best judgement and ask yourself whether or not the place is safe. never risk your child’s safety. i am so lucky to share my passion with my son salvador. it is truly one of the most special experiences of my life so far. we both learn so much about one another through our traveling and it is the perfect way to spend more moments with the most incredible person of your life. i took this photo working with @fotogrillo1974 photo by @christian_foto ( christian rodríguez ) #travelwithbaby #veracruz

comment 72 star 4,157 last month