Nearly one million pregnant sub-Saharan African girls may be blocked from returning to school following COVID-19 says World Vision an international organization bringing “Hope, Joy and Justice to all children”. Not only is the Anglophone parts of Cameroon suffering from COVID-19, but it has been plagued by an armed conflict with women and children bearing the highest toll just as in COVID-19.
From sexual violence, child marriage, to lack of sex and reproduction education young girls are facing high risks of being excluded and their rights to education violated as the crisis ease out and school resumptions become imminent.
According to the Cameroon Medical Council, 25% of pregnancies occur in girls of school age and 20% of pregnant teens do not return to school. This is however a figure based on the number who visit conventional health services, it is known that only 30% of the population does these visits.
Teen pregnancy is viewed as a social issue that impacts families for generations. While most do not have a means of returning to the classroom, others worry about quality care and the wellbeing of their children in their absence.
Efforts are being made by different organizations and individuals through different programs such as UNESCO’s #LearningNeverStops for every girl child and Education Can’t Wait Fund. Inspired to take action in contributing to safeguard progress made on gender equality in education, Njobati Sylvie, the founder of the Sysy house of fame is launching a yearly scholarship program for young girls under the theme “Educate her now, she can’t wait anymore” starting Academic year 2021/2022.
This scholarship is meant to reintegrate teenage mothers between 12-20 years back to school in the Mezam division of the North West Region of Cameroon and equally to support internally displaced girls of primary school age to gain access to education.
The teenage mother scholarship is a unique program, first of its kind in the region as it embodies holistic approaches to education and human rights of children. Cognizant of the fact that the psychological wellness of these teenage mothers and wellbeing of their babies is very important, this project is creating a nursery for the babies in the host school and a professional nurse provided to take care of babies while their mothers are in class. These mothers can spend time with their babies during the two short breaks per day. This approach does not only maintain the mother-child relation but it also helps keep the mother calm to study.
Though I was not a teenage mother, it was difficult for me to return to school after giving birth to my daughter despite the fact that the means was there. I was worried about my child’s well being while I was away.” Says Njobati Sylvie, who initiated this scholarship program. When i look at the statistics on effects of the armed conflict and C-19 in the English regions of Cameroon, I just can’t sleep at night” she continues. Children and women are becoming more and more targeted as victims of violence, between January and March 2021, there have been over 500 cases of rape and sexual assault documented in the two regions and children especially young girls constitute the majority.
This scholarship seeks to support as many teenage girls as possible and also young girls who are victims of the Anglophone crisis with support from well-wishers and funders like you who believe in the good of Education and the human rights of these young girls. The program is being managed by the Sysy house of Fame a renowned philanthropic organization creating Peace and prosperous communities through Arts and Culture in Bamenda-Cameroon.
To contribute or support this project,
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