Global Connect! Gender Justice Writing Project

Part: 3

Limitations of Language: A Barrier for mothers to overcome

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Many immigrant mothers who do not speak English find it difficult to find assistance for their children in the U.S. health and education systems.

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There are other more vulnerable communities. The indigenous Mixtecos from Puebla, Guerrero and Oaxaca, who do not speak either Spanish or English, face a major challenge. Olga Porfiria, an indigenous Mixteca from Guerrero, Mexico, had to face these language barriers in 2008, in order to save Steven her then 6-year-old son. When Steven was diagnosed with leukemia, Porfiria, mother of seven children, her tranquil afternoons after school became the prelude to long nights,

"My son's health worsens and he had to receive chemotherapy," she recalled.

Olga remembers her and her husband Juvenal Pineda's emotions, when facing a health system that appeared impenetrable.

"Our language is Mixteco. We speak little Spanish. We do not understand English. We did not understand what the doctors were telling us. We did not know what our son needed," said Porfiria.

"Am I going to die?" was Steven's first question to his parents.

"We trusted the doctors and we put our son's life in their hands. We overcame the language barrier through faith," she said.

Three years later, Steven is happy and healthy.

It is my opinion that we immigrants have the responsibility to learn English. This is important in order to contribute to both our wellbeing and the wellbeing of the United States. However, the majority of Hispanics are low income and they use the public library to take English classes. But due to funding cut backs many of these classes are being cut. What are we the low income immigrant going to do?


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Series Overview

Global Connect! Gender Justice Writing Project

Part: 9

A Woman In the Pursuit of Justice

Part: 8

Lives Cut Short: Trafficking from Mexico to New York

Part: 7

Family and Work: An Immigrant Woman's Dilemma

Part: 6

Poverty Is not Folklore for Indigenous Mexican Women

Part: 5

Bronx Playwright Creates to Engage Her Community

Part: 4

Mothers on the Move Signals Solidarity in South Bronx

Part: 3

Limitations of Language: A Barrier for mothers to overcome

Part: 2

A Mother is Murdered; Suspect Flees Again

Part: 1

Leaders Who Are Women of Color: Take a Deep Breath