Child mothers in Ntoroko district have beaten the odds to go back to school and pursue their education. The child mothers are beneficiaries of an initiative by the district leadership and Girl Child Concern, an NGO.
Ntoroko district has a high number of child mothers aged between 13 and 17years, especially in Karugutu and Rwebisengo sub counties. Some of the child mothers are victims of rape, defilement and forced marriages by their parents who are hungry for bride price.
Records from Ntoroko district education department show that only 10 out of every 50 girls enrolling for primary education complete primary seven. This means several girls drop out of school.
Despite giving birth to more than one child at an early age, some of the child mothers have returned to school. Beatrice Masika, a student of Karugutu Secondary School says she was impregnated while in primary seven at 14 years of age.
She explains that she sat her Primary Leaving Examinations when she was pregnant but managed to score 19 aggregates.
However, Masika, who is now in senior three, faces a challenge of carrying on with her education and looking after her child. She says that sometimes she doesn\'t attend classes especially when her 3-year old son is sick.
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16-year-old Maureen Kugonza of Rwebisengo Secondary School is also a teenage mother.
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For Justine Mugala, another teenage mother, getting pregnant while at school turned to be a nightmare for her as she was sent away both from school and home.
She explains that she spent the nine months moving from one relative to another in search of a place of refuge.
Charles Mugara, the Programme Coordinator Girl Child Concern NGO says they have hired trained community based monitors to go door to door and rally parents to send their children to school after giving birth.
He explains that the work of the community based monitor includes following up pupils who dropped out of school with a view of counseling them and encouraging them to return to school.
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Vincent Baguma, the acting Ntoroko District Education Officer says 300 girls have returned to school in the past one year.