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Teenage mum: How Adeke copes with studies and parenting

By Vision Reporter

Added 14th January 2007 03:00 AM

ANGELLA Adeke should have sat for her Senior Four in 2005, but she did not. She conceived while in S.3. She is now a student mother, with a nine-month-old baby girl. She is in S.4 at Usuk Secondary School in Katakwi district.

ANGELLA Adeke should have sat for her Senior Four in 2005, but she did not. She conceived while in S.3. She is now a student mother, with a nine-month-old baby girl. She is in S.4 at Usuk Secondary School in Katakwi district.

By Alice Emasu

ANGELLA Adeke should have sat for her Senior Four in 2005, but she did not. She conceived while in S.3. She is now a student mother, with a nine-month-old baby girl. She is in S.4 at Usuk Secondary School in Katakwi district.

The father of her child is her long-time boyfriend from their days at Usuk Boys Primary School. He regularly visited her during holidays when her parents were away.

Adeke says teachers learnt about her pregnancy at three months, since she was sickly.

“The headteacher wanted me to undergo a medical check-up, but I pre-emptied his move by pleading to the school management to allow me sit for my S.3 second term exams,” she narrates.
Adeke explains that students and teachers are supportive. The students give her notes whenever she comes late to class and also keep her food.

She used to breastfeed her baby exclusively, but when she resumed school last year, she introduced other foods like porridge and milk to her baby.
“When the baby falls sick, my studies are interrupted. Sometimes, I cry when she cries. I get so worked up that sometimes I regret why I ever gave birth at a tender age,” Adeke explains.

During the school preps, she goes with her baby to the classroom to rock her to sleep, before embarking on her revision. She used to revise from the hostel, but it became costly to buy paraffin.

Adeke’s day starts at 6:00am when she rises and ends at 11:00pm. When she wakes up, she prepares porridge for her baby and keeps it in a flask. She then fetches water and washes the baby’s clothing, before leaving for school at 7:30am.

She says: “During break-time, I return to the hostel to breastfeed. The school exempts me from extra-curricular activities so that I can have more time with my baby.”

Adeke is grateful to her brother, who allowed his P.3 daughter to help her babysit.

“When my niece resumes school this year, my baby will be old enough to stay with my mother in the village,” Adeke says.

She says her father was bitter when he learnt of her pregnancy but later forgave her.

“He even promised to pay my school fees, although by that time the Forum for Africa Women Educationalists (FAWE) had offered me a scholarship.” FAWE even promised to continue funding her if she performs well in her O’Level exams.

Adeke says she has learnt a bitter lesson, but is determined to excel in life. Her vision is to join university and become a doctor or teacher.

She says she has been empowered by the recent Terrewode, Muvule Trust and Straight Talk Foundation conference to be a self-respecting young woman.
She was among the 160 Teso secondary school girls who participated in a three–day conference in Soroti town.

The conference aimed at equipping the girls with life skills, career opportunities and tips on understanding their bodies and sexuality, managing difficult circumstances and learning from role models, who were selected among highly-successful women from Teso region.

Adeke advises young girls to abstain from sex to avoid teenage pregnancy and sexually-transmitted diseases like HIV/AIDS.

The education minister, Geraldine Namirembe Bitamazire, says girls who deliver and wish to return to school are eligible to continue with their education, although it does not mean that the ministry encourages girls to get pregnant while at school.

“There is no law that prevents them from studying. Where they apply for studies and are admitted, they should study,” she advises.

Teenage mum: How Adeke copes with studies and parenting

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