The incidences of teenage pregnancy are becoming alarming, added to this social malaise some parents do not give their spouses the support needed and as such teenage mothers at times ended up in prostitution or seek solace in drugs.
Help A Needy Child International (HANCI) has embarked on an initiative to ensure that teenage mothers who dropped out of school are counselled, educated and given the necessary support.
Over the weekend at the St. Helena School hall, at Kissy in Freetown, HANCI organized a workshop for teenage mothers and their parents to educate them on the need for bridging the communication gap between mothers and their children and the effects of teenage pregnancy.
The headmistress of Quarry Community Primary School, Margaret D Kamara in her opening remarks, averred that “during the war HANCI rejoined lost children with their parents,” adding that foster parents were found for those whose parents were not seen.
She explained, “now that the war is over, HANCI has discovered that teenage pregnancy is on the rampage.”
HANCI, Mrs Kamara said “would not only educate teenage mothers who have been dropped out of school…[it] would also serve as a mediator between parents and their children in order to maintain the family unit,” noting that the protection of such a unit was vital for the existence of any society.
In her statement, HANCI’s teenage girls project coordinator, Cecilia Mansaray highlighted that, “the aim of this project is to remove and reduce the number of teenage pregnancy within the Kissy and Wellington communities.
She accentuated that the project also strove to reunite teenage girls with their families or to find a safe place for them to undergo vocational training, or continue schooling for a better future.
The project, Mrs. Mansaray averred, “seeks to transform the lives of teenage mothers from non-productive to a moral economically viable life, through empowerment by knowledge and skills so that they would be able to care for themselves [teenage mothers] and their babies”.
HANCI’s GPC project coordinator revealed that the project’s objective was to survey areas, do street mapping and identification of teenage girls; examining their living conditions; counsel their minds and prepare them for schooling; prepare their parents’ minds for reunion and provide start-up kits for teenage mothers.
Mrs. Mansaray maintained that beneficiaries of the project were single teenage mothers with no adult supervision, whose lives were under threats as a result of the pregnancy; teenagers who dropped out of school as a result of poverty and children who were exploited and subjected to child labour as a means for survival.
She advised teenage girls to make good use of the opportunity HANCI had offered, and encouraged mothers to forgive their kids, noting that driving them out would only worsen the situation rather than salvage it.
In his summon-like statement, Rev. Isaac Showers explained the demerits of staying in the streets.
Rev. Showers stated that, “the street is dangerous especially for a girl child,” noting that “[they] are venerable.”
He told them that “adolescence is a period where you make or break your life…” Rev. Showers encouraged them to make positive use with their lives even though they had made a mistake once.
This, he said, could only be attained “if you are serious and make use of the opportunity HANCI has offered.”
Mrs. Fatmata Turay sent the hall haywire when she graphically explained about the use of condom, Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD’s), Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s) and HIV and AIDS.
The programme was climaxed by a family reunion with parents and teenage mothers