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B-METRO COMMENT: Open up communication to stem teen pregnancies

IN one of our recent editions, we carried a story of a Grade Seven pupil that experienced labour pains during an examination forcing the school to refer her to a clinic where she later safely gave birth. It was quite a touching story of a 13-year-old that was seduced and got into an experiment with a fellow minor resulting in the pregnancy. A�

Elsewhere in this issue we carry the story of the girl after the delivery of the baby. We believe the story carries with it useful lessons for children and parents alike. We learn that the girl was persuaded into having sex with a cousin when they were out in the veld herding cattle before the 2015/16 harvest.

What is important to note is that communication channels should be open between the parents and the child. This is important in that once the children do not get information relating to sex from their parents, they will learn from their peers, sometimes with disastrous consequences.

While it is important in a rural setting for girls to be familiar with many chores, the safety of the girl child still remains very important. We are, however, encouraged by the response of the school authorities and the family of the girl following the discovery of the pregnancy a few hours before delivery.

The parents admit that they were still in shock over what happened and also traumatised by the fact that the boy who impregnated the girl was a minor, and a close relative.

The school, on its part, should be applauded for ensuring that the pupil was allowed to complete her examinations so that her future is not destroyed due to the pregnancy and now the baby.

The girl has expressed her willingness to continue with school and her story should inspire those that made mistakes, showing them that they could rise again and make things right.

We have had reports of suicide by girls on discovering that they were pregnant and it is important that while these teenagers go through the mental torture of having let down their parents, they receive family and community support so that they cope.

Teenage pregnancy is a real issue that confronts us today and it is quite crucial for parents to open channels of communication with their children, both boys and girls, on sexual matters so that they avoid falling into situations that may endanger their future.

It is our hope that the family of the Grade Seven mother will receive all the necessary support and that the girl child campaigners shall reach out to this girl and offer support so that her dreams are not shattered.A� We also learn that the boy dropped out of school and it would be a good thing to put him back in school to turn their shame into a future testimony for their community and even the country at large.