My name is Jackie Leonard Bomboma, 30 years old female Tanzanian. I am a single mother of one daughter, 14 years old. My both parents died by a car accident when i was 3 month old. My parents had misunderstanding with both their parents due to religion differences. They were not supposed to get marriage but because they truly loved each other they forced and got married although their parent's were not happy about their decision. I was born and my parents loved me so much. My father worked on government and my mother was a secondary teacher. They had land, houses, cattle and names. The family was happy and enjoyed to have me as their daughter.
As we plan, God plans as well. the happiness didn't last as accident took their last breath and left me all alone at young age. Due to religion issue, after the funeral relatives of my mothers side left and they all forgotten about me. On my father's side they started fighting for my late parent's wealth and they took everything and left me with only grandfather at the village who was living alone as his wife passed away many years back. I was raised by my grandfather from that age of 3 month old. I grow up as a happy child around my grandfather, we together worked in our farm and got enough food. He taught me how to hunt, handmade products, and how to dry and store food. He never taught me anything like sexual talk, or anything about relationship and sex.
After my primary education i passed to join secondary school but my grandfather had no money to cover my school expenses. I stayed home for 2 years looking for support for me to join school but it was in vain. One day, i met a boy whose mother was a teacher. He asked me if i could be his girlfriend, and if i say yes and have sex with him once he will talk to his mother so that she can help me join secondary education. I thought over and over again but i knew that was the only opportunity for me to get support my education, i accepted. In my first sexual intercourse i got pregnant but i didn't know that i was pregnant and even my grandfather didn't didn't know about it too. 7 month after, we got visitors at our village who came for children Vaccination and they were supposed to stay at our home since my grandfather was a chairman of our village. One of the lady said to my grandfather " Congratulation, your granddaughter will soon give birth, where was she married"? grandfather said, " no, no, no, she is not married yet, she was supposed to join secondary school but we failed although i am still fighting for her to get support to join school...." the lady said " she is pregnant, probably 7 or 8 month" My heart was at shock, i felt so scared and shaking, i didn't believe that i could be pregnant for really. i got scared. My grandfather came close to me and asked me, is it true? i kept quit. he started hitting me and undressed there and then. The ladies helped me but my grandfather was very furious,disappointed, angry and he started beating me. In our village when you get pregnant before married its not a family issue, it becomes a village issue. so my grandfather locked me in a room and he went to call the village elders who came home and i was called for a meeting. they placed me in front of everyone and they asked me who i had sex with. I mentioned the boy's name and we started the journey to go to the boy's family. reaching there, the boy refused. he said he has never told me anything much less having sex with me. so i was kicked out of that family. we came back home and grandfather was very mad at me so he had to kicked me out of home. I left home, i started in a broken abandoned house near grandfather's house. I lived there with no family, friends, social, economic or financial support. I was all alone. everyone talked about me, they called me names and said i was cused. No one wanted to be closed to me as they were embarassed to help me or to be my friends. I cried for my parents to come back, i asked God why he had to take my parents away, then leaving me do bad decision which lead to young single mother at age of 15. Life was hard, it felt like walking in a dark rainy night in a foreign land that you don't see where your going or who will appear to help you. I was scared and didn't know what to do with my stomach, myself or my life.I gave up on everything, i hated myself, i hated God and everyone around me.
No matter how hard life was, but the sun could set and raised again and days moved on. One evening around 5pm, i went to collect firewood in the forest, on my way back with my firewood on my head i started feeling pain. i will never forget that pain. i failed to walk and was all alone. i started crying calling for help. While in pain, a lot of blood was coming out, i saw 2 men coming with their cows, they were from grazing their cattles. i called for help and they came to help me. whole of my pregnancy i never visited clinic and still i gave birth from the forest supported by men.I gave birth to a fine baby girl. they helped back home and they also helped me talk to my grandfather to allow me get back home, so he accepted me in again. I lived home but still grandfather was no longer my friend and he could yell at me all the time. so after 2 weeks i decided to run away from home with my child and come to town. i became a maid in so many families in spite all i went through i never left my daughter any where. she was closed to me and i could most of time play with her. I was abused, bitten, refused food sometimes but i never gave up. one day i met a good family whom after working for them for several years they asked me what i wanted as gift so i asked them to take me school if was possible. That day was the happiest day of my life when they said they will take me to school. I joined secondary school and i started doing so well that i got bassary for my tuition fee. after my secondary education i was employed in different places and started taking good care of my daughter. after seeing that was possible to rebuild your life again i thought of starting an organization to support teen mothers who think that its not possible and having a child while still a child its the end of your dreams and mean nothing to families, society or government.it was hard starting all the process as i have only secondary education, with no money but i thought to start to be great not to wait until i be great to start so i started. It was a long and hard moment again as some people i went to seek for help they asked for sex and because i promised myself i would rather delay than having easy ways to get what i want so i never accepted and they kicked me out of their companies, homes or sites but kept moving forward with my idea. in lately 2014 i made a group of teen mothers whom we all have almost the same story and asked them if we can join together and start our organization. we all devoted time, small knowledge we hold, and in 2015 we officially registered our organization called young strong mothers foundation www.ysmf.org up to date we maned to register over 400 teen mothers among them got scholarship to join vocation training centre, others are doing entreprenuership programs and others receive sexual reproductive heath programs. I was smashed as arshes, but i was able to pick the small pieces and rebuilds my life and the lives of other teen mothers and save their children too. My dream is to support teen mothers in tanzania through finding different opportunities for them. i believe that by doing that i will help to reduce the number of uneducated, unskilled young women, continuing poverty from teen mother to her child, reduce street and abandoned children, reduce dependent women, reduce death and HIV/AIDS.
Coming from a poor family with no parents or family members who took any care of me as a child; I witnessed some of the struggles fear, pain, abuse, hunger, lack of all needs for my child and I. There was a time when I could really give up but seeing my daughter gave me courage to keep fighting and move on day by day with her by my back. I felt so bad for myself; I never loved myself and heated everyone. It was so hard for me to love, trust or get involved, i was totally abandoned and everyone felt embarrassed to be around me or welcoming me. I was pushed door by door, all of opportunities were taken in front of my eyes, my daughter and I was called and given all types of bad names and treated the way people felt. I become a dust bin for anyone to throw anything bad. I meant nothing to everyone. People were embarrassed of me, they felt worthless to help me stand again, it was hard with my child on my back but she was the was my reason of walking on rain, hot sun and move forward, I loved my child because she was the only family I had.
My daughter and I we are like best sisters and friend because she is of my height now. We went though tough life but we were able to help others too. Teen mothers is a very difficult group to deal with but its worth supporting them.
That is my story.