When Ada got pregnant, she knew she couldn't support a baby alone. From the Dominican Republic and without papers, she decided to go ahead with the pregnancy. "The baby's father told me that he was not ready to have a child," he recalls with his little boy, Wilder, in his arms. At 5 months pregnant, they told her what the Red Madre Foundation was. There he went to ask for help. "A friend told me that they help girls who have little resources," she says.
The association has 40 offices throughout Spain. "They welcomed me like a big family because they gave me everything I needed. Milk, diapers...", she explains. "Now they are going to help me see how I can solve my papers," says Ada, who arrived in Madrid in 2006 and has another 14-year-old daughter.
Red Madre Foundation
"Society judges you, but I don't think anyone can do that," she says. "I'm neither the first nor the last," she says, in "this situation." "I advise girls like me to seek help, a child is the most valuable thing you have," she insists.
"Many of them ask us to accompany them to the delivery"
The work that the Red Madre Foundation does involves attending, individually, to each of the pregnant women who are approached by their delegations. In 2015, the foundation assisted 11,323 women and 90% of them went ahead with their pregnancy. "At this moment society does not help pregnant women," says the general director of Red Madre, Amaya Azcona, who exemplifies: "Sometimes women lose their jobs, a third child is frowned upon...".
Most of the assisted mothers are women under 30 years of age (78%), of which 32% have not turned 20. 51% have no support from their family, 60% neither from their partner , 83% are unemployed and 58% are of foreign origin. "Our goal is for the woman who has come here with a need to leave before the baby is 18 months old with the need resolved," says Carmen Casquel, a social worker.
These needs can be "merely material, but also psychological," he says. And Red Madre tries to cover both. They have warehouses that, based on donations from individuals and companies, are filled with baby clothes, strollers and cribs for women who are expecting a child. In addition, every two weeks, a psychologist goes to the foundation to do "individual and group therapy with the mothers."
Ada, from the Dominican Republic, had her baby in Madrid a month ago.Carmen Suárez
The foundation's motto, You will never be alone, sums up the philosophy of its work. "A woman who comes here 4 weeks pregnant and has doubts, we support her 24 hours in whatever she needs," she points out. In fact, many times they are in charge of accompanying the mother "to the gynecologist and even to the delivery."
The key is her volunteers
María has been a volunteer at Red Madre since 2014. "I'm the grandmother," she says with a laugh. Her role is to take care of the children when their mothers cannot. "Many of the girls have their families far away, and I can even take them to the doctor," she explains.
Joana, for her part, is in charge of ensuring that the warehouse that Red Madre has in Las Rozas (Madrid) is always full to be able to meet the orders of the mothers. Baby clothes with sizes from 0 to 18 months, shoes, strollers, feeding bottles, baby food jars, diapers... "I contact companies to get what we need, also with individuals who want to donate material," she says. What doesn't work for them, they refer to a solidarity store.
Some of the Red Madre volunteers in Las Rozas (Madrid). Carmen Suárez
While Joana tells what her job is, Silvia, a neighbor who has learned about the needs of Red Madre through the Wallapop application, arrives at the store. "I have three children and we are not going to have any more, so I have brought many of the things that we have left over from home," she explains.
Some of these volunteers are the ones on the other end of the phone 24 hours a day. "Many of the women who come here are foreigners, who arrive with an overwhelmed economic situation and need coverage and a support network that they don't have," says Casquel.
The foundation is financed through private donations, individuals or a company. They also have a grant. "We distribute it among the different delegations and it is intended for the purchase of nappies and baby food jars," explains Azcona. And he concludes: "A woman who wants to be a mother has the right to be one despite her circumstances."