From Child Brides to Girl Leaders and Mentors

child brideNearly 1 in every 2 girls in Uganda is married before the age of 18 and 60% of girls in Uganda are pregnant before they reach 18. Young girls in rural Nsaasi Village, Uganda represent some of the most marginalized girls in the region. In addition to forced marriage, high early pregnancy rates & the associated health risks, many of the girls we support have lost parents and are often living under the care of a female relative.

We see this every day because over 45% of the women we serve at The Shanti Uganda Birth House are between the ages of 14 and 19. 

Recently the midwives at Shanti Uganda’s Birth House helped a 17 year old mom birth her baby into the world. She is married to a man who is several times her age, and her home life is extremely difficult.  At Shanti she not only gets the medical care she needs, but the emotional support from the knowledgable and caring midwifes and staff, as well as a reprieve from everyday pressures and expectations. She is welcomed to participate in health and wellness classes and nutrition classes. She can also take part in our Teen Girls Health and Empowerment program, where she has access to strong female role models. Our workshops not only prepare her and her baby for a healthy life, they also focus on emotional wellbeing, problem solving, leadership and self-esteem. The girls in our program then become teachers both within their schools, at Shanti, and in the community who teach about the dangers of child marriage.

Post by: Our wonderful Board Member, Kristen Porter!

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