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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid