A Nakuru city-based NGO that takes care of teenage mothers in informal settlements has won accolades for offering vocational training and allowing those willing to continue with formal education to join schools, while they take care of their babies.
The manager of One Tribe Mama (OTM) Faith Atieno said their Australian sponsor buys tote bags made from kitenge materials in bulk and once they are sold, she sends the money back for the upkeep of the teenage mothers.
She said they are non-discriminatory, and any teenage girl who gets pregnant and lacks accommodation becomes their welcome guest. They are taken to prenatal clinics, and hospitals to deliver, and the baby and mother are given all the support.
However, once the baby becomes one year of age, they are given options of either going back to school or joining a vocational college to learn their preferred skill, enabling them to earn a living.
Interviewed by KNA today, Ms Atieno said they chose Kwa Rhonda informal settlement area because there are too many teenage girls and since they started the project five years ago, they have rescued over twenty girls.
Additionally, the girls are counselled by a therapist twice a month because some have undergone unimaginable traumatic experiences either at the hands of their parents, relatives or boyfriends.
“In this home, we live as a family, when the mothers join colleges or schools, the matron assists me to take care of the babies, and every child is taken to the antenatal clinic for vaccination,” she said.
But, she appealed to young girls, to carefully reconsider the effects of teenage pregnancies since babies are not only expensive to bring up, but they also require mature mothers, who are ready for all the care that they need.
The Kwa Rhonda residents are not only full of praise for the NGO, but they have made it a point to take their girls for counselling at the OTM centre, and they said it has drastically reduced the number of teenage pregnancies and school dropouts in the area.
The chairman of Nyumba Kumi in the area Jackton Onyango said OTM has proved to be a much better parent to young girls and that during school holidays, he gathers and takes them there for the counselling sessions.
“What we like most about the therapist is that she gives the girls baby care chores, and by the time he starts counselling them against teenage pregnancies, they accept that baby care is no child-play,’’ said Onyango.