Campaign Update

Adolescent Mothers Summit: Setting the Agenda for Creativity and Purposeful Living

Aramide Oikelome
Posted June 11, 2017 from Nigeria
Our Inaugural Young Mothers Summit
Our Champion, Olamide Etti
Our Champion, Olamide Etti (1/6)

Our first Young Mothers Summit held on Friday, June 9th 2017. Two weeks before then, precisely on May 27th, the Ask the Paediatrician Foundation had partnered with us hold a medical outreach Ijegun community in commemoration of the Children’s Day Celebration. The community chairman equally supported us by giving us free access to use the Town Hall for the event.

The outreach was to provide free medical services; basically consultation, tests, treatment and supply of medication, primarily to children and then some mothers. It also afforded some to get referral to teaching hospitals for further treatment.

Impressively, the turnout was massive; with over 400 children and 100 mothers registered and treated for free. The children also carted away with lots of gifts -foods, drinks, toys, fruits, candies and clothing. But in spite of all these, I was stunned to find that many of the women that brought their children were young mothers, mostly in their teens or early twenties; a further confirmation that Ijegun community is one area where teenage pregnancy and early motherhood is indeed very rampant.

Swinging quickly into action, I asked one of our volunteers to go round and get the contact details of the young mothers. Few days after the medical outreach, I called them up to intimate them with our special package for adolescent mothers. Unfortunately, very few showed interest; many were complacent and nonchalant about it. It soon dawned on me that for many of them, there was no big deal about being a young mother, except of course we were ready to dole out money for them to feed their families, do business and in very few cases, go back to school.

Undeterred by their response, I felt compelled to go ahead with our plans even though there was no cash at hand. I conveyed a meeting for Friday June 9th and out of the fifteen ladies invited, seven of them came.

Interacting with the young mothers (some of whom already had two, three children) made me realise that I was mistaken in my judgement. These were not complacent women; they were aspiring but struggling women who had given up and resigned to fate because they didn’t see any ray of hope that life could be more meaningful, purposeful and productive.

After exchanging pleasantries and telling them the essence of my mission, I gave opportunity to our first beneficiary; Olamide Etti to share her success story and how Girls Arise Initiative has impacted and given her a new lease of life. Thereafter, I asked a few questions in order to ascertain their areas of struggle and these were my discoveries:

  1. Almost all of them could not speak English, either because they had dropped out of school very early or didn’t go to school at all as they were given out early (by their parents) in marriage. So we had to communicate in our local dialect, which is Yoruba.
  2. Most of them also had young husbands, having been impregnated by young boys too; hence their children have teenage or young men as fathers.
  3. Some of these fathers are jobless and irresponsible; hence the burden of family rests solely on the young mothers.
  4. Some of these mothers are still with their parents since the man that fathered the child (children) is unable to cater for the family.
  5. Some of them are just live-in partners with the father of the child; there is no legal marriage between the duo.
  6. I was however impressed that almost all of them were engaged in one business activity or the other in their struggle for survival. These activities ranged from selling vegetables to sewing and petty trading.

It dawned on me that what they needed first and foremost was a re-orientation of their mind-set to be upward mobile and to believe that their lives could and should be better than it is now if they don’t want their children to suffer or sustain the vicious cycle of poverty and waste of potentials.

I stressed the need for creativity and purposefulness as young women that have a long spread-sheet of colourful opportunities before them, especially at this prime stage of their lives. I also emphasized that if well harnessed; the opportunities and youthful strength would not only help enrich their lives and families but also guarantee the wellbeing and success of their children.

The response I got was like igniting fresh fire, as one after the other, they began to talk about skills they could like to acquire so as to be economically empowered and improve the standard of living of their families. While some opted for Catering, others indicated interest in Cosmetology, Tye and Dye and production of Liquid soaps. One of them also stressed the need to make it a short-term skill acquisition training session, at least for now, because having to go for long-term training would mean having to put their babies in day-care centres and it would not be affordable.

Considering that liquid soap production is the cheapest of them all, we came to a consensus to get an expert to train the seven young mothers in attendance in July. I also promised to source for funds to empower them with minimal start up capitals.

The ladies equally expressed concern for many teenagers in the community and its environ that are either expectant mothers or already nursing babies, stressing that many of them are confused and depressed because they don’t know what to do with their lives and babies.

We agreed to hold a one-day Young Mothers Conference on July 27th and urged them to invite their friends and neighbours. The conference will amongst other things focus on health talks, skill acquisition and motivational talks to re-direct the mind set of adolescent mothers and also set the stage for society to give them a second chance to rebuild their lives.

The meeting ended on a very promising note as the ladies began to look at the brighter side of life. They also expressed eagerness to commence the skill acquisition training at once.

As parting gift, we gave them mosquito-treated nets to protect their babies from mosquito bites or malaria and also biscuits to take home. I am excited that the seven ladies that graced this inaugural meeting will now serve as Community Ambassadors to assist in our campaign to end stigmatization and restore hope to adolescent mothers.

Comments 16

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Adanna
Jun 12, 2017
Jun 12, 2017

Dear Aramide,

I have been reading about your campaigns and your determination to improve the plight of adolescent mothers.

Keep up the good work and God bless you!

Love,

Adanna

Aramide Oikelome
Jul 05, 2017
Jul 05, 2017

Adanna,

I appreciate your support and prayers because they give me strength.

Sending Love!

Aramide

Tebi Honourine
Jun 13, 2017
Jun 13, 2017

Hello Aramide, thank you for creating a change in the lives of adolescent girls. May you receive all you need to reach to more young girls. Love you Ara.

Aramide Oikelome
Jun 22, 2017
Jun 22, 2017

Love you too Tebi! I am hopeful that we shall get the much needed resources to help them become economically empowered and liberated.

In Partnership,

Aramide

Aramide Oikelome
Jul 05, 2017
Jul 05, 2017

Love you too Tebi! Thanks for your thoughts and kind words.

I will like to chat with you when you have the time.

Cheers!

Aramide

Sophia Atadana
Jun 13, 2017
Jun 13, 2017

Hi Aramide,

God bless you for given a second chance to these young mothers.

Aramide Oikelome
Jun 22, 2017
Jun 22, 2017

Amen and Amen. 

Thank you Adisat.

Sisterly,

Aramide

Susana Khabbaz
Jun 15, 2017
Jun 15, 2017

Hello Aramide...

Just some few lines to let you know that your contribution inspires me to keep creating...We're all united...

I admire your strenght...your powerful heart and generosity... May all your campaigns be blessed.

With love&colors

Susana

Aramide Oikelome
Jun 22, 2017
Jun 22, 2017

Susana Dear,

Thank you for your kindand soothing words. I'm inspired to do more.

I am optimistic that we shall go all the way to help these women stand tall and achieve their once aborted dreams.

Keep Soaring!

Aramide

Susana Khabbaz
Jul 19, 2017
Jul 19, 2017

Aramide dear...

Keep walking..., you're doing a great work...

You're a light warrior,

best regards,

Susana

Francisca Robles
Jun 16, 2017
Jun 16, 2017

What a great job you are doing, thank you for your determination. It is hard to be a mother if you feel that you don't have a purpose on life or if you are so young that no one has teach you yet how life is it. You are making a difference! 

Aramide Oikelome
Jun 22, 2017
Jun 22, 2017

Very true Franroblesc. Motherhood is too deep to be managed by a clueless and naive mind. It only leads to intense complications and disaster. The more reason why we must help adolescent mother's navigate through the rough paths and find their bearing. 

Together we can and we will!

In Partnership,

Aramide

Sally maforchi Mboumien
Jun 19, 2017
Jun 19, 2017

Hello Aramide. I admire what you are doing to break the cycle of misery and poverty in the lives of young mothers. Hope you get all you need to change the story of many of our young mothers. Remember to always help them draw a line on how far the father(s) of their child(ren) can influence their decision on self empowerment. Keep us posted as you journey this changemaking voyage

Aramide Oikelome
Jun 22, 2017
Jun 22, 2017

Dear Masalien,

Your words resonate with strength and purpose. Thank you.

How true that our young mothers must stand for their right to life and empowerment. They must not continue to be push-overs. 

I promise to ensure this is done.

Keep Soaring,

Aramide

BonnieP
Jul 02, 2017
Jul 02, 2017

What a wonderful program you're setting up for these young mothers. Your commitment to helping them improve their lives is inspirational. The world needs more women like you.

Aramide Oikelome
Jul 05, 2017
Jul 05, 2017

Thanks BonnieP,

We all have a share in the global task of making the world a better place.

Keep Soaring!

Aramide