Under the theme “reducing unplanned pregnancies among adolescents/teenage mothers and enhancing their life skills and competencies”, Woman Across Differences (WAD) in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) yesterday, at the Umana Yana, hosted the closing ceremony of the Comprehensive Empowerment Programme.
WAD, a non-governmental organization launched in 1999, strives to enable youths to empower themselves through access to social and economic resources.
The comprehensive empowerment programme targeted pregnant girls and mothers between the ages of 14 and19. A number of young mothers were trained in this programme and they graduated yesterday..
Giving an overview of the teenage mothers’ programme, Clonel Samuels, coordinator; WAD, informed that the major objectives of the programme were to: reduce unplanned pregnancies among beneficiaries, to build self-confidence among adolescents and teen mothers, to provide entrepreneurial knowledge and skills and to enhance positive lifestyles among adolescents and teen mothers.
She said that the teen mothers underwent training in areas such as personal development, sexual and reproductive health, entrepreneurial development, psychosocial support, small business management and life skills. Ms. Jewel Quallo-Rosberg, gender specialist, UNFPA sub regional office Kingston, Jamaica, said that she has never seen UNFPA yield such great benefits from a small investment.
She empathized with the “teen mothers” and acknowledged the numerous distractions that they may have been facing throughout their lives such as poverty, violence and negative peer pressure.
Ms Quallo-Rosberg encouraged the young to avoid illiteracy and ignorance so they can set standards, goals and be an example for other young women who may have passed similar stumbling blocks on the road of life.
During the programme there were three beneficiaries from the comprehensive empowerment programme who shared their life stories with the audience and new found family.
Michelle ‘Big Red’ King, who is also a member of WAD, shared powerful messages through two songs namely Hero made popular by Mariah Carey and Greatest love of all made popular by Whitney Houston.
As a particular “teen mother” delivered her reflecting thoughts of her life there was hardly a dried eye.
The young lady claimed that she now has hopes to live on since she is aware that she has a new family to support her dreams, her needs and her development. “I am given a second chance of life”.
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