Monday, August 22, 2016

“Early Pregnancy and Marriage Snatched the Beauty of my Life”

Nina (not her real name)
Nina , a 17-year-old girl in Manatuto municipality, dropped out of school last year because she was pregnant. She stopped going to school until her baby was born. Life has changed a lot since then. She is now taking care of her one year old baby boy, while her 17-year old husband Rico is continuing his study in a Senior high School in Dili. “Early pregnancy and marriage snatched the beauty of my life,” said Nina.


Like many other young girls who become pregnant at a young age, getting married seemed to be the only way out for Nina to avoid the shame of early pregnancy.


Teresa (16), a former school girl from Manatuto, had a similar experience. When she was in grade 3 at Senior High School, she was forced to drop out of school because she was pregnant. Accompanied by her mother, Teresa shares her experiences with a shaky voice, “When I realised that I was pregnant, I was frustrated and thought to commit suicide. Now I just stay at home with my son who is five months old. My mother is always with me in every circumstance.”


Teresa met a 20 year old man who was from the capital Dili in a social gathering. “I used to go out with the man. After five months I found I was pregnant, my boyfriend disappeared as he came to know. Suddenly we couldn’t reach him, we didn’t know where he was, where his family is, and we don’t even know his full name,” said Teresa. “We tried to report to the police, but we don’t know where the man is now,” Teresa’s mother added.


"’My family is embarrassed by me but they always supported me during my pregnancy, until now,” Nina said. “As parents we are stressed, but we have to support her, and we will support her to continue her study,” said Teresa’s mother.