A program in Kenya is helping teen mothers return to school and complete their education.
According to government statistics, two out of five 19-year old Kenyan women are pregnant or have given birth. After having a child, Kenyan girls are considered adults and thus no longer supported to get finish school. It is estimated that nine in ten Kenyan girls who leave school because of pregnancy do not return.
In 1994, Kenya introduced a policy for teenage mothers to return to school in order to ensure that more girls finish their education, but the implementation of the policy has been insufficient. This is where Jielimishe steps in.
Started in 2014 Jielimishe, Swahili for “educate yourself,” helps girls from poor communities stay in school. The program’s goal is to identify girls in Laikipia, Meru county, and Mombasa who need assistance in covering school fees, textbooks, uniforms, and sanitary towels.
Since its inception, Jielimishe has gotten more than 300 girls back to school.
Christine Gathoni is one of the girls who have been helped by Jielimishe. Gathoni became a mother at the age of 19 with two more years left of her secondary education. After giving birth, Gathoni was determined to finish her education in order to provide for her family.
“I hadn’t totally lost hope in securing an education to save my family from poverty,” Gathoni said.
Jielimishe will help Gathoni accomplish this goal.
Research shows that girls who finish their secondary education are more likely to earn more, have fewer unplanned pregnancies, and have healthier children.
This month, the first all-girl quintuplets in America’s history were born to parents Danielle and Adam Busby. The girls were delivered prematurely by C-section at the Woman’s Hospital of Texas, and are the world’s first surviving set of all-girl quintuplets in over 4 decades.
The five Busby girls remain in NICU while receiving treatment for various developmental complications. Each baby has her own team of nurses and medical personnel.
In an update video released last week, Danielle and Adam shared their gratitude for the nurses and physicians taking care of their premature daughters with optimism and love:
The couple also described the first time their eldest daughter, 4-year-old Blayke, met her little sisters.
“The second [the babies] would move their leg or their foot, she would laugh,” Danielle said. “She just thought that was so funny.”
Blayke quickly tired of looking at the babies in NICU, and seemed a little wary of the medical equipment involved.
“It’s going to take a little time to get [Blayke] to grasp that these are your sisters,” Danielle said.
The Busbys conceived both Blayke and the quintuplets on fertility treatments. After months of trying for a second child, they were shocked to discover they would be expecting not one, but five, babies.
“What a blessing to see and hear 5 little heartbeats, but also extremely overwhelming when trying to wrap our minds around everything that will come with having 5 babies all at once,” the Busbys wrote in the blog they began to document their surprise quintuplet experience. “We are holding on to our faith and convictions as followers of Christ and refuse to abort over half of our babies per the medical doctor’s advice.”
The Busby babies are named Olivia Marie, Ava Lane, Hazel Grace, Parker Kate and Riley Paige.
“I have a joy for kids,” Danielle said. “But never in my life did I think I would ever have six kids, much less six girls.”
Through their blog and Facebook page, the family asked for prayer as the new babies develop.
Top model Karlie Kloss recently announced her new program, #KodeWithKarlie, to empower teen girls in technology. The announcement video released on Instagram asks girls to apply for a chance to win a scholarship to the Flatiron Pre-College Academy to learn computer coding.
“Code is only going to continue to play a major role in defining our future,” Kloss said in the video. “I think it’s crucial that young women learn to code as early as possible to ensure that we, as young women, have a voice and a stake in what the world looks like.”
The scholarship covers tuition to the academy’s two week summer course in Intro to Software Engineering.
Interested high school students are encouraged to upload a 60 sec video explaining to Kloss “how you imagine you’ll use your coding superpowers.”
After taking the software engineering course with the Flatiron Academy, Kloss is passionate about sharing the innovative power of technology with others. “You’ll be ready to take on the world,” Kloss said.
After The Adoption Exchange finally placed one girl in a loving family, she missed her foster care sister terribly. Seeing how close the two girls had become, her new family planned a special Christmas surprise for their newly adopted daughter.
The family flew her foster care sister across the country and hid her in a huge gift box beside the tree, complete with pink wrapping and a gold bow.
To the delight of his new daughter, the father lifted the box to reveal her smiling foster sister.
Though the dear friends had to part again after the Christmas holiday, their separation would not be for long.
The older girl was nearing the legal age of emancipation from the foster care system, yet she still longed for a real family to call her own. Learning of her wish during the visit, the family decided to adopt her as an adult.
A month after the Christmas surprise, the two girls became true sisters.
“The Adoption Exchange envisions a world in which all children are valued and grow up in safe and permanent families, and where families are supported in their critical roles,” the organization’s website reads.
Learn how to play a supporting role for adopting families here.
After almost seven months, Nigeria’s government finally reached an agreement with the terrorist group which kidnapped approximately 200 schoolgirls. On October 17, officials announced that a ceasefire would commence and the girls will be released.
The Islamic militant group, Boko Haram, kidnapped the girls from their school dormitory in the northeast town of Chibok. A few of the girls have since been released or have managed to escape, while most remain in captivity.
Their capture sparked international protests. The hashtag #BringBackOurGirls circulated with thousands of followers, encouraging sympathetic persons worldwide to write and call local governments to bring attention to the crisis.
Meanwhile, officials prepare not only for the girls’ release, but plan to deal with the consequences of their endeavor – both physical and psychological.
“What is happening to the girls is an open secret: sexual abuse. We are preparing based on this assumption, which is almost a given,” Dr. Ratidzai Ndhlovu, the country representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), told BuzzFeed.
Specialists like Dr. Nihinlola Mabogunje, the country director of Ipas, an international health NGO, stressed the importance of continually assisting the girls and their families to ease their way back into society. The traditional culture of rural Nigeria often associates great stigmas with victims of sexual abuse. Officials are hoping to quench such imputations before they begin.
“Let the family be counseled on traumatic counseling for them to understand that the girls will be helped when they get out,” Mabogunje said in an interview with BuzzFeed.
For several weeks, health officials, United Nations agencies, and international organizations have been developing plans for helping the girls heal physically and emotionally.