School girls battle to raise children

01 Jul 2017 08:50am
KEETMANSHOOP, 01 JUL (NAMPA) – A group of school girls who are mothers detailed their struggles in raising their children during a workshop aimed at empowering them in making constructive decisions for their lives ahead.
The workshop was facilitated by the //Kharas Directorate of Education, Arts and Culture in Keetmanshoop on Thursday, bringing together 34 girls from five schools in the region’s Kalahari Circuit.
Five of the girls are currently expecting, while the others already have children.
The girls are from St Therese Secondary School in Tses, Adam Steve Combined School in Köes and Keetmanshoop high schools Suiderlig, JA Nel and PK De Villiers.
The mothers, who are in Grades 9 to 12, said it is a battle to raise their children alongside attending school and making time for homework and study.
“Sometimes my baby is not well at night and I have to stay up, meaning the next day is a challenge to concentrate in class,” one girl said.
Several said that finances were always in short supply to adequately bring up the babies.
“The father of my baby does not care about his child. They only have sex with you and leave you in the desert. The burden is on my parents to support the child,” a fresh-faced youngster said.
Another said that she experienced feelings of jealousy towards her child because of her parents’ attention and resources shifting away from her to the grandchild.
“To make matters worse, my child looks like the father, so I often took out my frustrations on the child when I got angry about his neglect,” she added.
The workshop’s facilitators asked for the girls’ identity to be concealed to allay the judgment on them as school-going mothers.
Many spoke of the embarrassment and shame they endured while being pregnant in school and in their communities.
They were urged by Kalahari Circuit Inspector Connie Wantenaar and senior education officers Otilie Lamberth and Immolatrix //Khamuxas to take control of their futures by completing school.
Midwifery lecturer at the Keetmanshoop Regional Health Training Centre Maria Titus explained the risks of pregnancies on young bodies and provided the girls with information on all birth control options.
She also urged them to suspend or delay sex, thereby preventing a second pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases or unsafe and illegal abortions.
“Make peace with your situation and aim to give yourself and your child the best chance in life. Also practice self-respect, self-restraint and gratitude to your parents and others who help you,” Titus said.
The girls were told to make the most of Government’s policy of allowing them to remain in school while pregnant and after giving birth.
They were also urged to serve as informal peer educators in their schools and communities and to encourage other girls to take control of their bodies and not to fall pregnant.
Similar workshops will be held in Karasburg for the Gariep Circuit on 06 July and for the Namib Circuit in Lüderitz on 13 July.