Three schoolgirls in the ESA region smile for the camera.

A young girl’s dreams come in many shapes and sizes.  Oratilwe Moerane, a 19-year-old involved in PCI Media’s Eastern and Southern Africa “Let’s Talk Campaign,” always saw herself in what she called her “Five Miraculous Dresses”:

·      Matriculation dress

·      High school graduation dress

·      College graduation dress

·      Wedding dress

·      Maternity dress

But her five dreams were shattered when early and unintended teenage pregnancy (EUP) interrupted the accomplishments that each one represented.

 

Campaign Asset from the Let’s Talk EUP campaign.

 

Sadly, for Oratilwe, a too-soon pregnancy also meant dropping out of school, dealing with the painful stigma and mistrust of family and friends, and the daily struggle to learn to be a good mother.  “It also means not only learning hard lessons to do the right thing even when you’re actually not sure what the right thing is, but also having to forgive yourself over and over again for doing everything wrong,” she added.   

The heartbreaking truth of unintended teenage pregnancy is that these lessons are too often learned at a time when options are limited. The future professional and personal success of both mother and child are jeopardized by the harsh realities of dropping out of school and bearing the sole financial responsibility for providing for a family.

When PCI Media’s Let’s Talk Campaign launched, Oratilwe used the opportunity to speak out and share her experience with other young girls.  She said, “Not only am I grateful to share my story with 600 pupils, partners and officials, but I also welcome the opportunity to hear and learn from others about how teenage pregnancies affect our parents, families and communities.”  

The Let’s Talk Campaign allows young women to share their stories. Holding back tears, Oratilwe said: “Now that we are provided with more information to make informed decisions, I hope that we can learn to stop shaming pregnant teenagers and especially those who want to start using contraceptives to postpone early pregnancies.  Rather than confronting them, please help them to understand their decisions and make them aware of the choices they are about to make.”

Through the Let’s Talk Campaign, teenagers gain access to materials on the website to both inform themselves and others of the advantages of postponing pregnancy until the right time, ensuring a healthy mother and a happy baby. 

And then she added, “We all need a person who listens, who understands and who provides a strong and supportive shoulder to cry on…let that person be your father, your brother or a friend you admire and trust.”  

This is what we mean by “Let’s Talk”!

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