Inspirational Colombian woman fighting to help pregnant teens in her homeland (VIDEO)
What Catalina Escobar is doing for the girls in the slums of Cartagena, Colombia is simply incredible and inspiring, which is why she's one of CNN's Heroes of 2012. The high-tech facility she's built using her foundation's funds has helped reduce the infant mortality rate for children of teen mothers.
The reality of Escobar's work and the problem she is tackling is just overwhelming. Teenage pregnancy rates in Colombia are jaw-dropping. The Colombian government estimates that 20 percent of girls between 15 and 19 are or were pregnant! It's a huge national problem. What's sad is that Escobar sees pregnant girls as young as 12 and most of the girls who come to her facility have been sexually abused. That's just devastating.
Escobar's foundation also provides the girls with childcare while they get therapy to work through the psychological mess that being abused and molested leaves behind. They also learn skills to fulfill their dreams. One girl gets culinary instruction to get her a step closer to owning her own restaurant.
The Colombian woman's desire to help the community was motivated by two traumatic events. Escobar watched the child of a teenage mother die in her arms in a hospital and realized that the $30 she had in her pocket would have kept him alive. A week later, her toddler died in an accident. She decided to start an organization named after her deceased son called Juan Felipe Gomez Escobar Foundation to help teenage moms get on their feet and empower them with skills that will help them get meaningful jobs, become independent, and break the cycle of poverty.
So far has helped 2,000 girls and her work is being recognized by CNN's Heroes. You can vote for her to win $250,000 to continue lifting young women out of poverty.
What do you think of Catalina Escobar's story? Does she inspire you? What do you do help your community?
Image via CNN