Young mothers earn life skills

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Teens and young women are being told that pregnancy does not mean that their educational aspirations come to an end.
Minister of Social Transformation, Human Resource Development, Youth and Gender Affairs, Samantha Marshall, told the participants at yesterday’s launch of the pilot Mother Care Project that the skills they will receive over the next six weeks are geared towards making them self-reliant.
“Our society has not appreciated the challenges that come with being a young mother, which is further compounded when you are a single mother. There are changes to your body, in your hormones and we need to focus on how to improve how you eat and act so we can better promote health and wellness in a holistic approach,” Marshall said.
She noted that talks are being advanced for the government to provide mothers with the proper vitamins that they need to make sure they are healthy enough to deliver healthy babies.
Through the Mother Care Project, which is an initiative by the non-profit Integrated Health Outreach Inc, with funding from the Canada Fund for Local Initiative will be facilitating the pilot in the Green Bay community.
Co-founder of the Integrated Health Outreach, Dr. Leslie Walwyn, said that young mothers are being given skills to make themselves more self-reliant so that they can provide for their children.
She also explained that the outreach targets girls from 14 years old with a view towards holistic wellness.
Dr. Walwyn said that it was time to address the root cause of repetitive cycles that see young mothers being unable to advance to their full educational potential.
“We have the highest rates of teen pregnancy globally; clearly it is not just one person or one gender’s problem. Along with that, it is well known that for teen mothers, it is like the starting line is way behind for them and to progress forward in life is more challenging,” she said.
Director of the Community Development Division, Brenda Thomas Odlum, described what the mothers will go through over the next six weeks.
“They are going to be taught health tips, the value of self-esteem, we have instructors who will be teaching them handy craft and skills where they will be taught how to utilise their hands. We will also give them information on healthy lifestyles, safe sex; we also have people from the Ministry of Education Early Childhood who will be doing mother care,” Thomas Odlum said.
Throughout the duration of the programme, the children will be cared for at a free daycare on the same compound where their mothers will be receiving the training.
The programme will be offered to several other communities, including Barbuda, early next year.
The target for this programme is at least 25 young women between the ages of 14 and 26 years.

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