"Zero Tollerance to cultural stigmatization of teenage moms" You are not Alone

Catherine Djiemo
Posted September 17, 2021 from Sweden

I am Catherine Djiemo, growing up was a delight for me as I got the opportunity to change locations due to my dad's job. I was that girl child who gave 150 % to prove myself and valurise my return into the next academic year. 

Everything changed when i turned 22 years, third year at University, and pregnant. My Worlds crumbled, the life and family i knew disappeared with the wind.  I was "Cut off" from all my relatives. My dad said i brought shame and dishonour to his clan, my mom had no opinion than to follow my dads instructions, my siblins where forbinden from taking contact with: I was on exil never to return. 

Suddenly i felt alone, unwanted, unworthy , and not knowing if i had been living a lie for the last 22 years. My mental health was at it's worst as i struggled to reach out to the People i loved; rather i become  like a punching bag of sand when all the sterotypes surrounding teenage pregnancy and the cultural implications where robbed on my face. 

In my struggle to finding a New purpose and sense of belonging, my then boyfriend (now husband ) family embraced me. I Remember his mom saying " i will have you ,if they donot want you; it will be their loss and my gain ".  And so did she but i struggled emotionally for   years because of the attachment i had with my dad. I was shattered to pieces and never knew i could recover. Nothing was ever enough to fill that gap untill my daughter was born. She was here and i loved her with every being of my existence from that moment i set my eyes on her.

 But i never expected what happened after her birth . I was hunted and given a time limit to abandon my child and return to thesame people who abandon me when i needed them most. I became rebellious and revolted against my family. We where completely not in talking terms for 12years. And alot had happened in these 12 years. I moved to Sweden ,where we now live with our daughter who is now 16 years old and in high school.

Today we self finance our organisation called "The Catherine Djiemo Foundation in Cameroon". Our objective is to raise awareness on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR)

We work in four thematic areas, which are:

-Provide free temporal accommodation for teenage mothers at risk of becoming homeless ,

-  Online and locations counselling / information sharing on Gender Based Violence,SRHR,

- Empowerment through educational scholarships and vocational training  on Hair braiding and dress design,

- provide daycare at "Just like mammas daycare " to allow our teenage moms return to school or get vocational training of their choice. 

I raise my voice to say Zero Tollerance to cultural stigmatization on teenage pregnancy. 

You are not alone so let's raise our voices together .

If you are out there and you want to join Catherine Djiemo Foundation on this journey, you are welcome.

We are now looking for sponsors,mentors, materials ,partners . Together we are stronger.

Comments 9

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Paulina Nayra
Sep 17
Sep 17

Dear Catherine,
Welcome to World Pulse! Happy to have an additional voice against the stigmatization of teenage moms. It is unfortunate that parents who are supposed to provide support to the pregnant teenager disowns their child at her most vulnerable stage. The community is blessed with women like you who made a turn around of their situation to help other teenage moms.
I wish you all the best for your foundation.
Huggs from the Philippines.

Catherine Djiemo
Sep 17
Sep 17

Thanks Paulina .Its an honor to join this amazing movement . And i hope to learn from all amazing individuals who are doing such a good job . Huggs from Sweden.

megsmueller
Sep 18
Sep 18

Hello sister Catherine and welcome to World Pulse! Your voice is loud and clear and it delivers a song of comfort and inspiration. At one end of the stick I am truly sorry for your experience. Our families can really hurt us albeit at the cost of losing us, forever. On the other end, you have not given in. You are hands on and working hard to empower women out there. Thank you for being a changemaker and for breaking stereotypical barriers!
May your the work of your hands prosper.

Much love.

Catherine Djiemo
Sep 18
Sep 18

Hej Megsmueller,
Thanks on your words of encouragement . Our generation of women must raise their voices together . There is so much to live for even after being a teenage mom.
Hugs in sisterhood

megsmueller
Sep 19
Sep 19

Yes, I am in total agreement! Virtual hugs right back at you dear.

Tamarack Verrall
Sep 21
Sep 21

Dear Catherine,
How wonderful that you have found World Pulse. Congrats on your first story. You have been through so much. We live in such a strange global society in which women and girls are all too often punished and controlled for having babies and making decisions about our own lives. What good news that your husband and family are loving and respectful. What wonderful work you continue to do. A big welcome!

Catherine Djiemo
Sep 21
Sep 21

Hej Tamarack,
It feel great to come incontact with a platform like world pulse. There is so much to learn on this platform but most of all the feeling of knowing am not alone and knowing how to navigate/express my freedom from all the cultural Sterotypes . Once again thanks for reaching out, it gives me assurrance in my journey.
Hugs

Shirley Asiedu-Addo
Sep 21
Sep 21

Great story. Together let's change our world for the better Catherine ❤️

Beth Lacey
Sep 23
Sep 23

Hello and welcome. I think “zero tolerance” is a great vision for your work. Good luck!