Empowering teenage girls - Foundation constructs home for adolescent mothers

BY: Gilbert Mawuli Agbey
Okofo Katakyi Nyarku Eku X (3rd from right) Omanhene of the Agona Nyakrom Traditional Area, joined by Mrs Barbara Arthur (right) and Rev. Dr Kingsley Arthur (middle), founders of the home, to cut inaugurate the building
Okofo Katakyi Nyarku Eku X (3rd from right) Omanhene of the Agona Nyakrom Traditional Area, joined by Mrs Barbara Arthur (right) and Rev. Dr Kingsley Arthur (middle), founders of the home, to cut inaugurate the building

A non-governmental organisation (NGO) based in Agona Nkum in the Agona West municipality in the Central Region, Give to Eat Foundation, has inaugurated a teenage mothers’ home, an educational and social institution, to empower teenage mothers and their children.

The NGO was established by Rev. Dr Kingsley Arthur, a native of Agona Nkum, and his wife Mrs Barbara Arthur, both based in Germany, with the objective of contributing to the growth of the town.

The home is to provide shelter for teenage girls, from, especially, deprived communities within the foundation’s operational areas, where young girls, who get impregnated, are sometimes left on their own due to the inability of their families and men who impregnated them to cater for them.

The teenage mothers, who often drop out of school after getting pregnant, would be accommodated in the home throughout the period of the pregnancy.

After delivery, they would also be assisted and supported to go back to school.

Others, who are not interested in going back to school but want to acquire vocational skills, would be enrolled in apprenticeship to learn trades of their choice.

While away, the children of the teenage mothers will be given special care by attendants at the home, who will later in the day, reunite with their mothers after they have closed from work.

Encounter with minister

Speaking during the ceremony to officially inaugurate the home last Tuesday, Rev. Dr Arthur, who is the president of the NGO, said the idea to construct the project was birthed after an encounter with the then Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Mrs Cynthia Morrison, who solicited for support from the NGO for teenage mothers.

He noted that the NGO got to know, during the encounter with the minister, that the Central Region had the highest number of cases of teenage pregnancy and teenage mothers who needed support to have their lives back.

Rev. Dr Arthur acknowledged that in every society, there would be vulnerable children who needed to be supported and not to be allowed to fall through the net, saying, “there should be a net to hold vulnerable children to grow to become responsible adults in the society.

Children not burden

The founder of the NGO, Mrs Arthur, urged parents not to see their responsibility towards their children as a burden, adding that, “such a situation has made some parents to shirk their responsibilities towards their children which pushes many teenage girls, in particular, onto the streets”.

She entreated parents to ensure the provision of the basic needs of their teenage girls to prevent men from taking advantage of them sexually, stressing “not providing the needs of teenage girls makes them vulnerable to sexual abuse”.

Statistics

Touching on the teenage pregnancy figures in the Agona West municipality, the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Mr Evans Addison Coleman, said the municipality recorded a total of 250 teenage pregnancies in the year 2020.

However, he stated that as of June 20, 2021, the municipality had so far recorded a total of 241 teenage pregnancies, noting, “the teenage pregnancy figures required concerted efforts from stakeholders to help tackle the canker”.­

For their part, the Member of Parliament (MP) for the area, Mrs Cynthia Morrison, and former MP, Mr Charles Obeng-Inkoom, commended the NGO for the efforts towards reducing teenage pregnancy cases to the barest minimum.

The Omanhene of the Agona Nyakrom Traditional Area, Okofo Katakyi Nyarku Eku X, who chaired the occasion, urged the people to take keen interest in the activities of the foundation towards achieving its intended objective for the ultimate benefit of the people.