Women's centre head encourages support for adolescent mothers

Sunday, September 22, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Executive Director of the Women's Centre of Jamaica Foundation (WCJF), Dr Zoe Simpson, is encouraging well-thinking individuals to support adolescent mothers who have reintegrated into the school system, to reduce the likelihood of their dropping out again.

“We want to zero in on that period of reintegration because research shows that [at that stage] the girls are still at risk of a second-time dropout,” Dr Simpson said.

She was speaking at a recent Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Think Tank at the Agency's Head Office in Kingston, during which she underscored the WCJF's need for public support to ensure the success of efforts to reintegrate adolescent mothers into the formal school system.

Dr Simpson encouraged schools to continue supporting adolescent mothers, once they have been reintegrated, and called on fellow students to assist in the process by being understanding and accommodating rather than critical of the girls.

She also urged the wider society to offer support in guiding the young ladies through to the completion of their secondary education.

While noting that the WCJF has a programme of support for the young mothers, Dr Simpson emphasised that “the responsibility still resides with the parents to support the girls”.

“We encourage the mothers of these girls not to keep them at home but to visit with us and let us talk together. So when they come from school and they have their projects and assignments to do, we ask the parents to help them; hold the babies for a while, so that they can finish their assignments. Assist them to take the babies to the health centres, so that they can go to school, and go on time,” she added.

Dr Simpson also lauded adolescent mothers who continue to attend classes at the Women's Centre and its outreach stations, despite their challenges.

“We have a number of girls who still do not come to the centres, and so all of us need to find them. The girls are very ambitious, and the appeal, therefore, is for parents, the general society, [and] the school system to help us find them,” the executive director implored.

The Women's Centre of Jamaica Foundation may be contacted at 42 Trafalgar Road, Kingston 10; via telephone at 876-929-7608 or 876-929-0977; or by visiting their website – www.womenscentreja.com.


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