After a slow start this morning (and some grumpiness from Sam due to lack of sunshine yet again!!) we got picked up by Dianne to take us to visit an Irish run charity for Ugandan teenage mums with complex social backgrounds. The centre was situated just outside of Kampala and on first impressions the place appeared to be an idyllic haven for these kinds of troubled and vulnerable young women. We were welcomed by a fantastic lunch cooked by some past residents whose children played happily and greeted us with huge hugs as we arrived. These ladies have stayed on to volunteer their services to the women staying at the centre.
The girls resident at the centre are between the ages of 13 and 18, but most are around 14 and are referred by the community through churches or friends of those that have benefitted from the services of the centre in the past. The ladies receive support throughout their pregnancy and are able to stay on at the centre for three months before they are integrated back in to the community. As well as pregnancy care the young women are taught skills such as craft and needlework to help them make a living once they return to their villages.
We were given the opportunity to hold a parentcraft/antenatal class for the 17 girls currently staying at the centre. All the girls were so responsive and grateful and used the opportunity to ask such perceptive question. Due the support and guidance given by the centre the girls were confident to ask lots of perceptive questions and really strived to be the best Mum's they could, despite the horrific circumstances they have experienced.
The three of us were overwhelmed by the strength of these women and the great work of the staff running the centre. We could see the true value of this project and despite the limited number of women they can reach, you cannot deny the need for such a project and the huge difference it makes to these girl's lives and ultimately the bond with their babies.