The life of a teen mother
A 13-year-old mother in Tanzania shares her life with the world on Pinterest.
Finding out that your 13-year-old daughter is pregnant can be
devastating for a family. In a country like Tanzania, where there is
very little access to sex education or contraceptives, teenage mothers
are a normal occurrence. It's not always promiscuous or 'naughty'
behaviour that gets these young girls pregnant. According to AMREF,
cultural practices in Mtwara, such as initiations which children must
take part in, encourage young girls to have sex for money. The shocking
truth is that while 60% of young people have had sex before the age of
18, contraceptive use is only 6%.
Making a change
brave young woman by the name of Sihiba Yusufu is working with AMREF to
make people aware of the situation that she, and so many like her, are
in. By using a camera phone that has been provided for her by AMREF,
Sihiba takes photos of her life in her village and posts them to Pinterest where she hopes to "help other girls keep their childhood".
posts photos of her child, her chores such as fetching firewood and
even of the new top she's wearing that day. She posts the photos as and
when she can and captions them in her native language of Swihili. The
AMREF team then translates her captions into English.
inspired by Sihiba. Yes, she fell pregnant after sleeping with an older
man for money. No, it's not ideal and her situation isn't perfect. But
she knows that she can make a difference to the many other young women
are going through what she is by sharing her story. Sihiba had this to
say on being a teenager mother: "Being a mother at this age is tough – I
can’t take care of myself and my baby, even getting basic things like
clothes and food is difficult. People think I’m an adult just because
I’ve had a baby. It’s a miserable life. I think it’s important that
young people get information, to help them avoid what happened to me."
She's intelligent, she's brave and despite her circumstances she almost always has a smile on her face.
If you want to help, take a look at Sihiba's Pinterest and visit the AMREF website.