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First guide to pregnancy and childbirth for Chile’s indigenous Mapuche population

© UNICEF Chile/2009/ Hernández
A traditional and ancestral ceremony at the colourful launch of the 'Growing Together’ guide. The launch was attended by high-level national and regional authorities, and representatives of Chile's Mapuche people.

LA ARAUCANÍA, Chile, 23 January 2009 – A new guide for mothers-to-be called ‘Growing Together’ is being used to help assist Mapuche indigenous women in Chile during pregnancy and childbirth.

Called ‘TXüR TXEMüAIÑ’ in the Mapuzugun lanuage of the Mapuche, the guide is being distributed in association with the Government of Chile’s childhood protection system known as ‘Chile Grows with You’.

The guide will be available for all women when they attend their first pregnancy check-up in the La Araucanía public health system. It will also be given to health teams that provide assistance during pregnancy, as well as to Mapuche cultural advisers and health service professionals.

Advice and wisdom

Chilean Minister of Planning Paula Quintana and UNICEF Representative for Chile Egidio Crotti held a ceremony to launch these educational materials in a rural health centre located in the borough of Lautaro, home to various Mapuche communities. 

"I received information about pregnancy and childbirth,” said Doris Mariluan Cheuquel, 17, who was present at the launch. “I will take this guide home and I will share it with my family. I like this material. It contains advice that my grandmother and mother also gave me."

As well as providing medical information, the guide highlights Mapuche customs as they relate to to maternal and child health. The guide’s contents are culturally relevant to the daily life of pregnant Mapuche women and their families.

The material was prepared by UNICEF in partnership with local health-sector stakeholders, cultural facilitators, professionals from state agencies involved with children, and representatives of the Mapuche people.

An inclusive environment

‘Growing Together’ gives advice through two personalities: an ancient sage named Papay and Kuyen – or the moon, an element of nature that the Mapuche people associate with womanhood.

Papay and Kuyen impart valuable lessons to improve and enrich the cultural relevance of early childhood policies. The guide aims to foster to a friendly, inclusive and welcoming environment. It addresses issues such as physical activity, nourishment and pregnant women's employment rights, among others.

During the launch ceremony, UNICEF Representative in Chile Egidio Crotti highlighted the need for educational outreach to encourage mothers to use the guide.



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