Eighty adolescent mothers are now able to change the courses of their lives after completing courses, provided at the Carnegie School of Home Economics (CSHE).
This is the second initiative of its kind facilitated by the Health and Family Life Education Unit within the Ministry of Education aimed at empowering, educating and supporting vulnerable teen mothers. This follows the reintegration of several mothers last year, from the same institution
At a simple ceremony held at CSHE’s auditorium, Minister of Education, Hon. Dr. Nicolette Henry congratulated the young mothers for taking the necessary steps to advance their education and skills.
“This occasion, in my mind, signifies your determination to become strong, independent parents and by extension responsible adults that will contribute meaningfully to the upbringing of your children and the development of your society,” the minister added.
Citing global data Minister Henry noted that the statistics show eight million girls became teenage mothers, while locally between 2015 and 2016 the figures show there were 6,000 young mothers in Guyana.
“Adverse childhood experiences including teenage pregnancy can have lasting negative effects on individuals. In many instances if appropriate interventions are not provided adolescent mothers can have multiple pregnancies,” she added.
The minister noted that the ministry understands the importance of quality education and will continue to assist in the development of the nation’s young people. She also commended all relevant stakeholders for their assistance and encouraged them to continue their support of more young mothers.
The courses in cosmetology, cake and pastry making were fully funded by the government through the Education Ministry. The ministry also provided transportation to and from school for the students, along with the provision of free daycare services for their children.
Describing their completion of the courses as a success, UNICEF Education Specialist, Representative, Audrey Rodrigues, told the young: “You have the opportunity to become successful, independent women and you have the opportunity to make that a reality and the key is to continue learning all the days of your life.”
Myrna Lee, Principal, CSHE echoed Rodrigues’ views and encouraged the young mothers to “dream with passion and patience as they are one step closer to achieving their future”.
Since the development of the National Policy to reintegrate adolescent mothers into the education system last June, a total of 45 mothers have benefitted – 15 were reintegrated into the formal school system (Secondary School) and 30 chose alternative education. Similar programmes have been rolled out in Regions 1, 6, 7 and 9.
The reintegration policy is the result of a collaboration between the Education Ministry and UNICEF, with the input of other important stakeholders such as the Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Social Protection and faith-based organisations, among other agencies.