Every year Jerry and David, the founders of Yahoo!, give the employees a special gift. Last year they decided to try something different. Instead of a material gift, we were given $100 to spend on our favorite charity. Most Yahoos chose something normal like helping children read, saving the environment, or some other notable cause. I wanted something different for my cash.
I found the Community Center for Sex Workers in Mexico to be the appropriate destination… for my money. This small organization is renovating an abandoned building in Mexico City for elderly prostitutes. No, really, it’s a rest home for hookers. Poetry, pure poetry.
Frankly, I’m unabashedly all in favor of this. I think these ladies have worked hard and deserve some respect and care in their retirement years. This organization is helping those that most people would simply ignore.
Here’s their purpose statement
Elderly sex workers live in appalling conditions on the streets of Mexico City. Independent sex workers have the need to come together to hold seminars, organize reflection groups, and take primary- to high school-classes. Casa Xochiquetzal, a community center in one of the poorest and most marginalized neighborhoods in Mexico City, will give older and independent sex workers the space and opportunity to gain dignity and learn about their human rights.
A Community Update
I got an email recently from the organization.
Progress report 2007
By Paula Sánchez Mejorada – Development Assistant, August 15, 2007
In November 2006, the restoration of the Casa Xochiquetzal building was completed. The house now has the adequate space to accommodate a group of 25 senior citizen sex-workers. These women, together with a further 20, who will live in the house in the near future, have actively participated in a series of workshops on themes such as: handicraft production; self-esteem, conflict resolution; and communication skills.
The 45 sex-workers have also received legal, psychological and medical services provided by local governmental entities, with the support of Mexico City’s Women’s Institute. Thanks to these efforts, today 45 women have a personal identity card; 32 have a senior citizen card; and 36 were submitted to a general medical checkup.
The house also organizes initiatives for the wider community. One example has been the hosting of a day offering free eye sight checkups for 360 people from the local community.
Despite the progress made, the house still needs furniture and equipment for different spaces. They also need resources to provide further training for the women to become self-sufficient in running the house, to instruct them in human rights, and to train them in other skills so that they might earn a living and make the place self-sustaining financially.
How you can help
You can easily help this organization by donating money via GlobalGiving, a portal for non-profit organizations. $50 can host a handcrafts workshop (get your mind out of the gutter!). $100 pays for their utilities for the month and $150 supports the psychological care of a resident. You are also free to make any size donation and can keep it anonymous.