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Supporting Teenage Mothers in Kenya

New member SARAH CHEPKIRUI explains why joining the Kenya Cluster means her organisation can better serve a discriminated group.

My life changed in 2007 when at the age of twenty-one, l became a mother while still at university. The journey of being both a young mother and a student is tough, but by the grace of God l made it.

Several years later, l was surprised to find out that the number of young mothers had risen to an alarming rate in my country, especially in rural parts which are affected by poverty.

I realised that something had to be done, because most of these young mothers drop out of school and stay home to take care of their babies. Others get into early marriages, hence cutting short their dreams of completing education and pursuing their dreams.

Having walked this path and made it successfully, l founded the Sparkle AGAIN Foundation. Our organisation seeks to empower and mentor these young mothers and their children, to realise their full potential in life, and to overcome the societal stigma and discrimination that affects them. We also work to minimise teenage pregnancy and reduce the rate of STI including HIV/AIDS transmission, through peer education in primary schools, secondary schools and church youth groups.

Our organisation began in 2015 as a support group for young single mothers in the urban area of Kericho, but it has since grown to accommodate teenage mothers in rural areas. We do this with the support of churches, local administration, and passionate volunteers within our organisation.

Joining the Kericho Cluster has been great for our organisation. In particular, we have forged a new partnership with the Live with Hope Centre, which is enabling us to better support teenage mothers of disabled children. I have also received training on SALT which has advanced my knowledge of managing an organisation.

Being part of the Cluster will really help us continue to grow as an organisation - even without financial help from donors - because of the wisdom we will acquire through training on resource mobilisation, management and mentorship.

Without CHGN, I would still be stuck and stagnant. Thank you CHGN.

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