One in three girls in South Africa fall pregnant before their 20th birthday, and it’s with this statistic in mind that Early Inspiration’s first Sand Babies Prevention of Teenage Pregnancy Programme launches this week with grade eight and nine pupils from all five high schools in Graaff Reinet: Union High School, Hoer Volkskool, Nqweba Secondary School, Asherville Secondary School and Spandau Secondary School.
This programme may also be implemented throughout rural communities in the Eastern Cape within the next year or so.
“Through our various interventions, teenage pregnancy has been highlighted as a real challenge facing schools, communities and the future generations of South Africa,” comments Dr Lauren Stretch, Early Inspiration’s managing director. “Early Inspiration’s focus is on developing and supporting children in the early years (birth to six years) but we have found in many communities throughout the Eastern Cape, that the number of children in early childhood have teenage parents is astronomical. This is a huge concern for us and the future of South Africa.”
There are multiple challenges that result from teenage pregnancy ranging from transmission of HIV-Aids, infant-mortality, teenage-suicide, neglect and lack of stimulation, to name but a few. Thanks to the contribution from SMSPortal, Early Inspiration is able to launch its first Sand Babies Prevention of Teenage Pregnancy Programme.
Early Inspiration has been working in the Graaff Reinet community facilitating teacher training programmes and parent support programmes for three years. The parents from the community raised the concern regarding teenage pregnancy during its Parent Education Programme held in the area earlier this year. Jessica Baker, Early Inspiration’s Parent Programme Manager states that “An analysis of current Provincial trends shows a concentration of learner pregnancies in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo.”
The overall impact of teenage pregnancy on young women’s educational achievement is driven by the timing of the pregnancy and the manner in which the young woman and her family respond to the pregnancy. Prevention and early intervention becomes a necessity. Teenagers should be informed in order to make decisions which are healthy and safe.
About the programme
The learners will take part in a workshop, and will then design a ‘Sand Baby’ which for two weeks they will care for and carry around daily. “Learners will also be required to complete a journal which will reflect on various challenges, highlights and low-lights throughout this period,” adds Dr Stretch
After the period, the team will do an evaluation of the best-cared for Sand Baby together with the most thorough journal. Learners in each grade, of each school will be awarded and a community award will also be a highlight of the intervention. “The purpose of this intervention is to create awareness around teenage pregnancy and encourage abstinence,” remarks Dr Stretch.
The training and Interventions will take place in the schools between July 27th and 29th with Graaff Reinet seeing the Sand Babies in the community until 12 August. The award ceremony will take place on August 15th.
Author: Kimberley Clare Ogden
The following two tabs change content below.