My name is Leah Wangui Njuguna, a psychologist by profession, and when doing volunteer work in Coast Provincial General Hospital, The Youth Friendly Zone, where youth and teenagers mostly ones living with HIV and AIDS come for clinic and others who are defiled or raped come for treatment and counseling, I came into contact with twelve teenage mothers all below nineteen years, some having given birth to between one and two babies already and others heavily pregnant. They live in slums in very deplorable conditions, and they ended up being teenage mothers not due to their wish but were forced by the circumstances they found themselves in. Five of them being total orphans fending for themselves and their children, the rest seven live with their role models who are their single mothers who are very poor pushing them to do very demeaning jobs like selling illicit brew, engaging in prostitution in the open areas within the slums in the full glare of the children, for an amount as low as £0.16, in the process of trying to make ends meet. The girls sell and abuse illicit brews and drugs, most of the times forced to engage in sex with the customers who come to take the brew, for the parents to have regular flow of the said customers. Others are literally `sold’ to men by their own parents without any care of the girl’s health repercussions since no protection is used or even contraceptives.
I have been offering them individual and group psycho-social support and acts as a mentor to the girls, but have realized that this is not enough especially in this era of COVID 19. The girls are going without food for long periods of time jeopardizing not only the health of the girls but of their children. That is why I am sincerely pleading with anyone who can stand with the girls and alleviate the plight they are currently in, to buy food, and preferably learn a skill like tailoring, baking and hair-dressing which they are passionate about. The long term remedy is to equip these girls with a skill that they will use to be able to self-employ or use it to secure a job, to cater for their lives and that of their children for a lifetime.
To be of help to teenage mothers and their children to get food and learn a skill to either start a business or be employed, to become financially stable.