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Friday, January 29th, 2016  |  USD: Buy 531.29 / Sell 543.92
20 years

PANI provides $1 million to keep teenage mothers in the classroom

high school students in class

(ICR archive)

July 28th, 2014 ( Costa Rica’s child welfare agency, known as PANI, has allocated 627 scholarships worth ¢518 million for the 2014 period to help keep teenage mothers in school and achieve an education.


PANI spokesperson, Fanny Cordero, said that in addition to the grants which have been awarded, the institute has a number of socio-educational workshops and other services that will be provided to adolescent mothers for the remainder of the year.


More than 300 teenage mothers are expected to participate in the workshops in various areas of the country.


The workshops include life coaching and mentoring in the areas of health, education, entrepreneurship, child rearing, self-esteem and other issues facing adoloscent mothers.


In addition, PANI has a toll-free helpline at 800-2262626 that provides emotional support as well as career and legal counseling to both adolescent mothers and their families.  The service is free, and phones are staffed between Monday and Friday from 7am to 10pm.  The hotline even has psychologists on staff to provide personalized counseling and emotional support.


The hotline received 5,418 calls last year.


In 2011 (the latest data available), the National Institute of Statistics and Census (INEC) reported 13,867 births to teenage mothers, 476 of whom were under the age of 15.


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  • Lisa

    I admire Costa Rica so much for investing in these young women by giving them an education and skills. Many times these young girl’s families cannot provide the things they need. It will be better for their futures and Costa Rica.
    In the US, compassion for our teenage mothers is not as prevalent.
    Pura vida.

    • expatin paradise

      Lisa Marie, I also applaud the effort. With this initiative, teenage motherhood does not have to cause a lifetime of poverty. I hope that the government also has an effective initiative to prevent teen pregnancies, especially for those in their early teenage years.

      It is ironic and impressive that a Catholic country is so progressive in its attitude. When I was in public school in the US (admittedly many years ago), girls were expelled from school if they were known to be pregnant. I remember a friend of mine, who was weeks from graduation, who was expelled and not allowed to receive her diploma in the school’s convocation. People complain about modern (im)morality, but it seems more moral to me.

      • Lisa

        It is the attitude of each country, it seems. This country without a military has higher priorities. And the icing on the cake is pura vida.
        Compassion and respect is missing in highly divided countries.
        BTW…I’m just Lisa, not with the Marie. But I loved her character.

        • expatin paradise

          Nice to meet you, Lisa. I took the liberty with your name based on the profile photo. I like the way you think. So many expats here are so conservative. I also like your choice of movie icons – she was also great as Vampira in “Ed Wood.”

          While I laud the program discussed here, I am disappointed at the Catholic church’s attempts to dictate the agenda re sex education here. The pregnancy rate of young teens clearly tells us that kids aren’t going to “just say no” to sex.

          • Lisa

            Nice to meet you, too.
            Some of my teachers were Dominican nuns, but very liberal.
            Ticos are cafeteria Catholics. Very religious but more practical than the US.
            Birth control pills are available here, free in fact for Ticas. They don’t like the weight gain. I say to them,10 lbs on your butt is better than ten lbs in your arms. They giggle.

          • expatin paradise

            Perhaps, if you tell your Tica friends that birth control pills will make their breasts bigger, they’ll take them. You know how Ticas are about their breasts.

      • Ken Morris

        Actually, maybe not when you were in school, but by the 1970s where I grew up in the US some public schools ran daycare centers inside them. I think it was because the population was Catholic, and the Church as well as public sentiment was making good on its anti-abortion stance. I realize that nobody should argue about politics or religion, but sometimes I’ve found Catholics to be consistent, farsighted, and good.

        Just my opinion on the policy, I like the funds to keep the kids in school but have reservations about the various workshops. Invariably these kinds of programs end up spending most of their money on bureaucrats to give silly workshops that the kids don’t need. I think the money that goes to actually help the kids is great, just suspect that most of it is wasted.

        • expatin paradise

          Ken, my comments were not intended to criticize Catholics. I simply intended to note that despite the church’s attitudes about extramarital sex, Catholics here are commendably more tolerant than conservatives in the US. I do have problems with the Church’s obstruction of real sex education, though.

          I’m a bit older than you, and my experience was apparently different from yours. Since you are from a Catholic area, I assume that you didn’t grow up in the south as I did; but I know that you lived for some time in Georgia and understand the culture.

          As for the workshops, I never saw any value to such sessions, but people learn differently. Often contracts for such activities are nothing more than gifts to political friends. The curriculum and its effectiveness should be evaluated to see if the funds would be better spent elsewhere. This government can’t afford to spend money unnecessarily.

          • Ken Morris

            I didn’t know that you were a Southerner. We’re going the have to get together on New Year’s for black-eyed peas and the rest, a tradition I have to continue. My first second love was for the South, and I’ll go to damn bat for a Southerner as fast as I will a Nica. I hate the prejudice against the South, even as I hate most state governments in the South.

            Yep, the Catholic Church’s usual opposition to sex education is pretty alarming, as is also other stuff, like duh, child-molesting priests. I just know that it’s a big tent, lots of Catholics are great people, and frankly suspect that on the whole the Church stands for good things. I’m also biased, since I’m a product of the Friday fish fries, and can’t imagine any religion that hosts a fish fry while giving up meat to be a bad thing. Seems like a good way to run a religion if you ask me.

            You’re right, workshops may benefit some people, so I can’t close the books on them. I’ve just seen too many instances in which do-gooder funds have mostly been eaten up by the do-gooder staffs, who in turn evaluate their own efforts. I also question the assumption that single mothers are dumb and need instruction. This seems a convenient blame-the-victim rationalization. I suspect that most know exactly what they’re doing and just need help to be able to.

            Meanwhile, there remains the issue of the fathers. They are dropping out of school in greater numbers than the mothers already. Mind, it’s good to help the mothers, but there are a lot of guys who might need sonme help too.

  • disgusted

    Without a high school diploma here your job opportunities are nil. Another issue once you reach 30yrs of age again your job available are about nothing. Teenage mother = poverty and misery. However, again and again you see them, young mothers of 14yrs of age carrying a baby. So so sad. I would do a heavy program of “wise up”. Telling these young girls the truth before pregnancy , and also how to protect pregnancy and disease.

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