1st birthday!
It’s been a time of celebration as on 20 November we celebrated our 1st Birthday.

We took the opportunity to launch our name and new logo 2YoungLives. The logo represents the teenage girl and her baby, our 2 young lives, protected under the wing of a mentor.

Why teenage pregnancies?
We also took the opportunity back in October to present a challenge to some of the beliefs of the issue of teenage pregnancy, on International Day of the Girl Child.

Sexual and reproductive health choices for teenage girls are far from straightforward:

‘Do I queue half the day for water and risk missing school or do I skip the queue by being a ‘girlfriend‘ of the guys running the pump?
Do I meet my teacher after school for sex in exchange for passing my exams or risk not being promoted?
Do I sell everything to this guy saying he will buy all that I’m selling for sex, or do I risk missing school for the third time this week?’

… and so it goes on.”

To say girls have autonomy and choose to become pregnant ignores the deep seated issues of gendered behaviour prevalent in Sierra Leone. So when a girl does get pregnant, what can we do to avoid judgement, and instead give her a step back up to where she was, but with more knowledge and decision making capability?

Two Young Lives provides that opportunity. When girls find they are pregnant and are abandoned by family, school and their community, one of our mentors provides the care and encouragement they need to thrive again.

What does support look like?
Support to run a small business allows them to eat well in pregnancy and prepare for their birth; health education and encouragement to go for antenatal care and a hospital delivery gives them and their babies the best chance for a healthy birth; and help to negotiate family relationships often restores community belonging and support.

The opportunity afforded by mentoring does not simply avoid maternal and infant death. It can set this young woman on a whole new trajectory of personal development, re-entering school as a more mature young woman with clearer vision for her life and that of her child.”

Our challenge is that we stand together to support a brighter future for our girls. If you are keen to know more about what we do or if you would like to address some of these same issues in your locations please contact us at 2younglives@gmail.com

A story showing how 2YoungLives can support a pregnant teenager and her baby…

At 16 Eisha* became pregnant, her parents were very angry and she was driven from her home.

Having to leave school and with nowhere to live she felt very alone. The situation was hopeless, until 2YoungLives came in contact with her.

A small business loan and support allowed her to start a business, which made enough money to eat every day and save, she was able to take care of herself and her pregnancy and prepare for her baby.

Family is important to her, 2YoungLives helped her reconcile with her family and after the safe birth of her baby, she moved back in with her parents.  Her parents are now offering to care for the child so she can return to school to finish her education.

She has grown in confidence, not only is she providing for her and her baby, and returning to school, she is getting alongside other pregnant teenagers, sharing her own experience and using the 2YoungLives materials to help teach others, ensuring that they have safe pregnancies and births.

Eisha* is not unusual, she is not a statistic. She doesn’t want you to feel sorry for her. She wants you to be proud of her. Proud of her achievements, of her strength, of taking up the challenge to be a good mother, a provider for her family.  She is a role model, a friend and supporter of others.

http://www.lifelinenetwork.org/project/mentoring-pregnant-teenagers
*not her real name