Being a teenager is hard enough, but it gets even more challenging with a pregnancy and all efforts of caring for a child as well as parenting.
Since most young mothers would still be in secondary school or college, finding the time and financial resources to complete their education is their biggest priority alongside parenting.
Local non-Governmental organisation, Ukani Malawi has launched the Young Mothers’ project in Ndirande Township aimed at sending young mothers back to school with financial and material support.
Following research and consultations, Ukani Malawi co-founder Temwa Chirembo said they noted that majority of the young mothers were mostly staying at home and not going to school due to lack of fees and lack of support from their parents and relatives.
One of the beneficiaries of the project, Olivia Kamwendo, said that getting pregnant left her parents angry and they chased her.
“I was 18 years old with no education and no work experience. I had to begin fending for myself and the baby which has proved very difficult,” she says.
Olivia’s is just one of the cases of young girls in peri-urban areas who have fallen pregnant and dropped out of school.
Ukani Malawi has come in to integrate such girls back into the educational system and ensure they complete their studies and actively contribute to the development of the nation.
“During the launch on May 13 2018, we held a group discussion where the girls expressed themselves and shared their problems. We collectively came up with solutions. The major problem from those discussions was lack of financial support to return to school and lack of basic needs such as groceries. As such, the project comes in to ensure that these young mothers are given a chance to go back to school and that they get proper mentorship and guidance to avoid subsequent pregnancies; as well as to ensure that their basic needs are met,” said Chirembo.
One of the young mothers, Orama Maluwa, who is supporting herself from her small-scale business challenged the girls to stick to education as their lifeline.
She spoke about the significance of pursuing an education to provide a brighter future for themselves and their children.
Maluwa also advised them against getting second pregnancies before marriage.
FDH Bank’s Penelope Mwale was one of the motivational speakers at the launch and she shared on leadership and the importance of girls pursuing leadership in various sectors.
Ukani Malawi has also introduced another project alongside the Young Mothers Initiative, aimed at the prevention aspect.
“This project aims to reduce the pregnancy rates among young girls by forming social clubs to properly educate the girls on the importance of abstinence, sexual reproductive health and the dangers of early pregnancy,” she said.