THE DREAM TEAM
Sierra Leone has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in the world made worse by the 66% rise in teenage pregnancy during the Ebola crisis. The need for a program that would deliver babies of such young mothers safely whilst providing health education, pre and post-natal care and a pathway back to school or a job was evident.
Our Dream Team project has to date supported 600 of these girls and their babies. We are expecting another surge in teenage pregnancies due to the COVID-19 crisis. The continuation of our services for this highly vulnerable group are critical. Many of these girls face social and economic problems and the Aberdeen Women’s Centre provides support to re-integrate them to their communities post birth.
On top of access to first-rate health care, these young women participate in a range of activities focused on social awareness, literacy and numeracy and health education, all taught by our on-site teaching staff.
Main goal: to transform their lives through education and empowerment at the most vulnerable moments in their lives, both economically and emotionally, through rebuilding their self-esteem and confidence.
A number also engage in a range of skills training including handicrafts, needlework, soap making, doormat design and production and cloth weaving.
We take a holistic approach to the wellbeing of our Dream Team transforming their health through access to safe birthing, whilst enabling continued education. We empower these young women economically and emotionally, rebuilding their self-esteem and confidence at a time of great vulnerability.
The achievements we have made to improve the lives of our teenage mothers in 2018 is a direct result of the commitment of our dedicated donors, for which we are sincerely grateful.
Making dreams a reality
The Dream Team girls participate in a range of activities led by our on-site tutors. The skills taught are targeted to give the girls the best chance of income generation and include:
- Literacy and numeracy classes focused on counting and writing of numbers, simple maths; alphabet, word building, matching of words, spelling, reading and writing; identification of colours and shapes
- Income generating skills – soap making, tailoring, arts and crafts
- Health education
- Counselling service is a platform that provides the best possible psychosocial care for teenage girls that are apprehensive about misunderstandings with their communities. In Centre counselling services offer support to participants to manage:
- Anger Management
- Mood Disorders
- Family dynamics
- Health education sessions are held twice a week for both pregnant and lactating teenagers. With the expertise of midwives of the centre and family planning nurses, the girls are given accurate, culturally-sensitive information on gestation, baby-care, breastfeeding, hygiene and family planning.
- Because they are in an open and safe environment, the girls thrive, asking many questions about their bodies and emotions as they progress through their pregnancies.
- We also offer information on vaccinations and infant care.
- Arts and crafts, our Dream Team girls attend arts and crafts classes. This is an income-generating skills empowerment for both pregnant and lactating teenage girls/mothers. Art is also used as a platform for providing counselling for teenage girls struggling with life issues.
- Training hostel to provide a safe home for pregnant teenagers and new mothers to give birth safely and have proper postnatal care. Teenagers from rural areas or others whose families are unhappy about their pregnancies are often faced with sleeping on nearby beaches or in the street, leaving them vulnerable to violence, tropical weather and disease through mosquitoes.
The centre has secured a house and refurbished it, so it now provides not only hostel accommodation but a safe environment where residents can gain more skills training to ensure a sustainable future for themselves and their babies.
How a simple donation makes a big impact
Dream girls stories
On 9th January 2020, Blessing a 16-year-old girl delivered a beautiful baby girl. However, her story is one of sadness and shows the engrained misinformation around sexual and gender-based violence and the age of consent in Sierra Leone. Blessing from the slum area of Dwarzak in Freetown was happily attending school and studying hard, living […]
Mabinty Conteh grew up in a village with her mother and father until her father abandoned the family when she was eight years old. When Mabinty was sixteen, a woman from Freetown came to her village on business and promised Mabinty and her mother a better life and a better education for Mabinty. After a […]
Eighteen-year-old Mary Sesay was living with her older sister in Aberdeen when she became pregnant. Soon after she learned this she was told to leave her home because the space was too small for both mother and child. At this point, the father of her unborn baby became emotionally and physically abusive to Mary. Now […]