News / Africa

    South African School Gives Hope to Pregnant Teens

    S. African School Gives Hope to Pregnant Teensi
    X
    August 04, 2014 1:40 PM
    A special school for pregnant teenagers in South Africa is trying to help end the cycle of poverty associated with early birth. South African researchers say around 30 percent of girls in the country get pregnant by the time they are 19 years old and only a third of them stay in school while they're pregnant or after their babies are born. Emilie Iob has more from Pretoria.

    A special school for pregnant teenagers in South Africa is trying to help end the cycle of poverty associated with early birth.  South African researchers say around 30 percent of girls in the country get pregnant by the time they are 19 years old and only a third of them stay in school while they're pregnant or after their babies are born.

    A typical day for most girls in high school is spent chatting and laughing during recess and breaks.  There is one major difference between most teenage girls and girls in this community - here, most will become mothers by the end of this year.

    The Pretoria Hospital School is the only education facility in South Africa which has a section dedicated to allowing pregnant students to carry on their education. The school currently has a 100 girls between the ages of 13 and 19.

    Most pregnant girls are forced to leave their previous schools because of social stigma.

    "I thought they would judge me, and that's why I left. When I was in grade 9, there was a girl in grade 10 who got pregnant.  When we walked through the halls, girls would go like 'She's pregnant, she's pregnant!'  So that's why I didn't want to stay, because I know what the people think, and they judge easily," explained Nicole.

    Sometimes, schools themselves decide to expel pregnant girls, despite the fact that it is against South African law.  Once outcasted, many pregnant teenagers never finish their secondary education.  Pregnancy is the cause of more 30 percent of high school dropouts.

    Dorothy came close to being part of the statistic.  After being expelled from school and forced to stay home for months trying to find a school that would accept her, she arrived in the community earlier this year.  She said she enjoys a prejudice-free environment. "I began to feel welcome and not discriminated against, and it was lovely. Because we could all share about the same thing. They are all mothers, we share the same pain, the same joys, and the teachers don't constantly tell us about what a bad deed we did and they support us," she said.

    Rina Van Niekerk, the school's principal, said the major challenge is to bring every student up to the appropriate education level and keep them on track.

    "There is no cut-off date for learners to enroll at our school.  So you will find that learners end up with in the 3rd term of the year, but they are behind the work schedule that we are following.  So you need to get the girl on par with the rest of the girls," she explained. "Another challenge that we have in high absenteeism rate among the girls. They suffer from pregnancy related illnesses very often."

    A teaching section for pregnant teenage students opened in the mid-80s -- and remains the only such school in South Africa.

    You May Like

    Russian-speaking Muslim Exiles Fear Possible Russia-Turkey Thaw

    Exiled from Russia as Islamic radicals and extremists, thousands found asylum in Turkey

    US Presidential Election Ends at Conventions for Territorial Citizens

    Citizens of US territories like Guam or Puerto Rico enjoy participation in US political process but are denied right to vote for president

    UN Syria Envoy: 'Devil Is in the Details' of Russian Aleppo Proposal

    UN uncertain about the possible humanitarian impact of Russian proposal to establish escape corridors in Aleppo

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora