An innovative program in Bogotá Cares For The Caregivers
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Myriam Cristina Salazar Lozano left high school at age 20 when she became pregnant. Now 58 and separated from her daughter’s father, she cares for her three grandchildren, since her daughter left her children’s father due to domestic violence.
Looking after a teenager, a tween, and a 3-year-old is hard work, but Lozano has set boundaries and priorities for himself. “Before I take care of them, I have to take care of myself,” she says. “I need to value myself and take care of things. Finishing my high school diploma is a 38-year-old dream.
One weekday in August, she sat in a classroom at a community center in the Bosa neighborhood of Bogotá, a low-income, working-class neighborhood on the southwestern edge of the Colombian capital. In a well-appointed classroom with comfy desks and modern artwork on the wall, Lozano and a group of students — all women, all older than the usual high school kids — work toward their high school diploma. .
This course is part of the suite of offerings through the city’s network of manzanas del cuidado, or care blocks, an initiative by Mayor Claudia López that launched in October 2020 and has expanded to 11 centers across this guy in the city.
Through Bogotá’s sistema distrital de cuidado, or city-wide care system, care blocks provide educational, social, recreational, and technical services to caregivers as compensation for their unpaid work in the so- called economy of care.
“We want to take care of those who provide care so they can relax, learn or earn an income,” López told Next City in June during the World Urban Forum. “In short, getting out of poverty. Not only monetary poverty, but also time poverty. Life never slows down.
This sense of empowerment is exactly the goal of the López administration in pursuing “feminist urbanism” or urban politics through a gender lens. The program was led by the Latin American feminist movement, a highly organized movement that wields real political influence and has seen major political victories in the region.