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Helping Teenage Mothers of Young Women Destination

Helping Teenage Mothers of Young Women Destination

Helping Teenage Mothers of Young Women Destination. The first time you hear of the word Teenage Mother, what do you imagine?

Exactly! Just like you I had so many questions. Is it even possible, how could a teen be pregnant or carry a baby in her womb for nine months? Who could be responsible?

Until I saw it myself, it was incomprehensible. As I grew older, I understood why a senior woman in my primary school taught personal hygiene and why she insisted on words too big for my brain; “menstruation” with extra warnings to older girls. It all became very clear as I progressed in secondary school. Pregnancy seemed like a death sentence – girls I knew dropped out of school. No one cared to find out what happened to them, but their misfortune left a haunting ghost that lingered in our minds for years!

Fast forward, I have picked up so much through my development career. I have a personal compassion for this particular group!  I should state that the word “teenage pregnancy”, as vulnerable group has triggered in me a passion to support them. My heart cries each time I meet a teenage mother!

Last year, I vowed to get involved in Helping Teenage Mothers of Young Women Destination. The day I visited “Young Women Destination” an NGO in Gisenyi, my heart broke, I could not speak, I froze but I promised to return. The date was set to end of year 2019 to coincide with end of year celebrations! It was a perfect opportunity to enter the new decade.  Prior to this date, all my friends and social media groups were nagged, pushed, called and texted. Some gave others made promises to give. My mission was to collect toys, books, mats and clothes for mothers and their babies.

Just like me, Julienne, a wife and mother has no blood relations with the teenage mothers she supports. Out of compassion Julienne reached out to a teenage mother (Mama Celine) who society considers as a burden, cursed due to the albino child she had. Celine and her mother are considered rejected by families, and society. Her child Celine was abducted by unknown and on her way to the authorities, she met Julienne.

Mama Celine, afraid, abandoned and rejected by her own, could not nurse her child both in public or elsewhere. But fate led her to Julienne who counselled and nursed her. She also taught her a few handicraft skills. Before Julienne knew it, the numbers grew from 1 to 18 to 72 teenage mothers.

It was time to get a bigger working space and that’s how Young Women came about! Currently this project is reaching younger girls in three primary schools with the same message my senior woman had for us several year ago – it’s the message of prevention which gives me hope that we can do more to reduce numbers of teenage pregnancies from the alarming numbers (19,000 Rwanda teenage girls became pregnant in 2018)!

Back to my trip! We set off from home with a vehicle full to maximum capacity including the car boot. I could hardly use the driving mirror. I was joined by a good friend of mine who was visiting Rwanda and together with three of my four children set off on the evening of 30th December – I was the driver. The weather was unusually warm – as though it danced in celebration of our mission! After a few stops, we arrived in Gisenyi just before midnight. We stayed at an Ivorian brother’s apartment (thanks to the long-term friendship!), located in Gisenyi town just before petit barrier.

The next day, we set off for the mission. Without a doubt I had so much fatigue! We were welcomed by hugs, drums and dance from the millions of smiles from beautiful children who lay on a mat reading books – Mama Celine was reading to the babies while the other mums danced and drummed welcome songs. Their cuddles so warm, so gratifying and expectant! My friend – Sylvia Mbabazi and the children joined the reading class as we gazed on the beauty that lay across the hill – Lake Kivu. I could not take my eyes off the beautiful surrounding of bright white skies with a silver lake and green terraced peninsula that lay across from where I sat – on mat with all kids, who, it seemed had been specifically dressed to impress with their Sunday best – neat and clean clothes.

After reading stories, their mothers could hardly wait – they continued to sing and drum indoors in anticipation! We danced, dressed in beautiful Rwandan attire and everyone including my friend Sylvia and my two daughters. My greatest joy was to see the once dark, empty play space filled with toys and books all lain onto the new-picturesque worded mat enlighten the room with a new-life in a once empty dark room. We rearranged the toys, books, clothes and prayed with the mothers and children. What a perfect way to end the year 2019.

In most circumstances, you wonder what happens to the boys who fathered these children. I have good news! Celine’s dad returned after several efforts from YWD and as we speak these parents are newly-weds! They wedded on 11th January 2020. Their wedding is no doubt a result of counselling work and inspiration from Young Women Destination!

Heritage Safaris Ltd is committed to working with teenage mothers through Young Women Destination by promoting their work! We will ensure teenage mothers receive the necessary attention through promotion of their activities including cooking classes, dance classes, boat tours to the banishment Island “Akarwa Kabakobwa” and handicrafts.

Get Involved

It is more blessed to give than to receive. When you give to the needy (rejected, vulnerable, marginalized), you don’t just touch the physical but the spiritual being of these mothers as well as their children. When you give to teenage mothers, you give them love, a sense of new life and new beginnings. Who knows what was in their minds the previous night?

Most teenage mothers end up depressed, hating themselves or their families. They lose a sense of life and its meaning. Rejection (from families) breaks their reason for living and often, they end up contemplating suicide, on streets as beggars, or as house laborers! Dreams of ever returning to school become an illusion and are eventually lost. Should you need to support or tour or promote these activities, please do not hesitate to contact us at

Words by Sifa Uwera

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