Executive Director of the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation (WCJF), Dr Zoe Simpson, is encouraging well-thinking individuals to support adolescent mothers who have reintegrated into the school system, to reduce the likelihood of them dropping out again.
“We want to zero in on that period of reintegration because research shows that [at that stage] the girls are still at risk of a second-time dropout,” Simpson said.
Simpson also encouraged schools to continue supporting adolescent mothers, once they have been reintegrated, and called on fellow students to assist in the process by being understanding and accommodating rather than being critical of the girls. In the same breath, she urged the wider society to offer support in guiding the young ladies through to the completion of their secondary education.
“The responsibility still resides with the parents to support the girls.”— Women’s Centre head
While noting that the WCJF has a programme of support for the young mothers, Simpson emphasised that “the responsibility still resides with the parents to support the girls.”
“We encourage the mothers of these girls not to keep them at home but to visit with us and let us talk together. So, when they come from school and they have their projects and assignments to do, we ask the parents to help them; hold the babies for a while, so that they can finish their assignments. Assist them to take the babies to the health centres, so that they can go to school, and go on time,” she said.
Simpson also lauded adolescent mothers who continue to attend classes at the Women’s Centre and its outreach stations, despite their challenges.