Twenty-year-old Jeanette conceived at the age of 18. When she got pregnant, her family and the neighbourhood could barely accept her; everyone at home was rude to her. She felt frustrated and decided to leave her parents’ home and go stay with her grandmother.
The man that got her pregnant abandoned her and denied that he was the father of the baby. “The man who impregnated me denied that he had done so. He told me to wait until I give birth so he could determine if the baby looked like him or anyone in his family. He still denied the baby and has never supported her in any way.” Jeanette narrates.
Jeanette later joined ‘Twiyubake Twitezimbere’, a group comprising of 17 teenage mothers. This group of teen mothers was trained by World Vision’s Ingobyi Programme, and through the programme, Jeanette and the other teenage mothers were equipped with skills and knowledge in areas like business, reproductive health, behaviour and mindset change among others.
This group later formed a savings group following the training. They are able to save and also get loans from the savings group. The teenage mothers stated that they all changed their mindset and started focusing more on being financially empowered. Today, most of them have secured loans from the savings group and started up small-scale businesses which are helping them meet their needs and take care of their children.
The community leadership team where these young mothers live was impressed by their transformation and supported them with an estimated $770 to invest in livestock. The teenage mothers were also among the four groups that were awarded by World Vision for meeting their target of paying their 'mutuelle de santé' (community-based health insurance) on time.
Being a part of this group brought back hope to Jeanette. She was glad to be part of a group of girls who had gone through the same experience as hers and would therefore understand her. “Through Twiyubake Twitezimbere group, I have learnt business skills and my self-esteem has been restored. I got a loan from the savings group and invested in agriculture. Through my business profit, I was able to complete the loan refund. Now I can capably take care of my daughter and my grandmother who is paralysed,” she narrates.
Jackline Ingabire, the Chairperson of the group says that they have been able to change their mindset through sharing ideas amongst themselves. Most of the girls in this group gave birth at a very young age and when they meet and share amongst themselves; it helps them emotionally. “The training we received through the Ingobyi programme has empowered us in many different ways. It has empowered us to be self-reliant, empower ourselves financially and not chase after the men who impregnated and abandoned us. Now we can take care of ourselves,” Jackline shares.
The Ingobyi programme is a five-year programme that aims at increasing equitable access to reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health and malaria services in targeted districts. It has a component of savings for transformations groups, which helps the beneficiaries to pay for their medical insurances on time.