Teenage Mother’s Outreach (TEMO), an organization whose mission is to restore hope to the hopeless teenage mothers in Namuwongo slum, has launched a campaign dubbed “My Heroine Challenge” to celebrate, encourage and appreciate the young mothers, who endure several difficulties as they bring up their children. The campaign aims to draw out the best and different attributes of the young women who have showcased perseverance in hard times without compromising their dignity any longer. This will go a long way to encourage many other teenage mothers and their households.
“We couldn’t have celebrated these young mothers on any other day except Mothers’ day. We have held their hands for 8 years now, and have witnessed their challenges but also evident and ongoing transformation of their lives. We therefore say to them “Yalama noi TOOTO” translated as “Thank you Mother”as we raise awareness of the dangers of teenage pregnancy and early marriages; and also raise funds towards their Health and Nutrition” said Joseph Arineitwe, TEMO Founder.
“Whereas TEMO has provided the bare minimum in empowering the women with vocational skills, their health and nutrition remains a challenge that endangers their livelihood. I specially thank our partners, Engage Hope Ministries, Strong Minds Uganda, KCCA, Access Medical Center; Dr. George Odoi who have been at the helm of monitoring, treating, advising and referring teenage mothers to TEMO,” Arineitwe specified.
“The teenage pregnancy rate in Uganda stands at 25%, where young mothers in Uganda risk poor maternal and child health. It is our role as medical practitioners to guide the young mothers on how to take care of their health though encouraging them to seek prenatal care, and feeding their children on a balanced diet. I call upon all the teenagers to abstain from sex before marriage or use contraceptives to curb unwanted pregnancies.” Dr. Odoi advised
Since its inception in 2012, TEMO has reached out to over 500 girls from the slums of Namuwongo, Kasanvu, Kanyogoga, Yoka, Go down, Tibaleka and Mugalu. It has provided a vocational training center located in Namuwongo, Makindye division which offers training in tailoring, hairdressing and entrepreneurship skills that help teenage mothers start up small businesses to earn and support their children and households.
The women also engage in hawking vegetables and fruits, domestic working, frying pancakes, cassava and chips, among other activities.
The Director for Gender at KCCA, Dr. Esau Galukande, also Guest of Honor, applauded TEMO for not only curbing teenage pregnancies but also supporting teenage mothers through training on vocational skills. “Pregnant and parenting teens struggle to balance their lives because they take on the role of parenthood too early in life and usually with no support system. They are exposed to exploitive activities like sexual abuses, child labour, and early marriage for survival. This conversation can take to a positive one if the general public and even the neighborhood communities like Muyenga, Kisugu, Bugolobi, Makindye etc support this cause.”
My Heroine Challengestarted on 3rd May 2021 with health education processions and community advocacy drives, community leader’s dialogue meetings, fumigation, and food delivery to selected individuals with pressing food needs, health issues and child headed families. The campaign will be held annually in celebration Mother’s Day which falls on 9th May every year.