I am Angela*, 15 years old, a scholar at Wounded Healers. I am in Form two now, but my classmates are in Form three. I was made pregnant by a 25-year-old man during the holiday. I then reported to Form 1, but in June 2020, I asked permission to go home from the principal. No one had noticed. The principal was shocked and gave me a letter to take to my father, which I did. My father went to see the man’s parents, and the man agreed to marry me, but my father refused. Later the man’s parents agreed, through the intervention of village elders, to pay for one of $300 and ten goats. My father did the negotiations without involving me. After I gave birth, the man refused to take care of the baby. The main reason was that he had not married me, but my parent stayed with my son.
I lost my studies for the year 2021. When I returned, the principal said nothing to me, only that I would repeat. Imagine being in Form one when my classmates are in Form two. I hate it. It is disturbing me psychologically. I cannot concentrate. Reporting on time was a big problem. I had a considerable fee balance since the principal said I should pay fees for the years 2020, 2021, and 2022 to prove to the school that I was committed to attending school, which my parent could not pay. I want to study but hate being in this school because of the stigma and discrimination.
Most teachers and the pupils keep asking me questions concerning my problems and treat me very differently. Most school people think I am the only person with a child. The baby issue disturbs me a lot; he has no good food and clothes; most of the time, I cannot talk to other students because they abuse me and call me names like “kiji mama(old woman), maziwa ya matiti inanuka”(my breast milk smelling). Others call me “parent,” but what parent am I when I cannot provide for my child? I fear to announce anything in class; even when I lose my things, the whole class shouts at me, calling me names; it is frustrating.
I have been working hard and always share with Wounded Healers counselors what I go through; they encourage me to continue working hard. I want to finish my education, get a leadership position, and fight early marriages. I also want my child to have a better life than I did; I don’t want her to be married off or get pregnant when young. Wounded Healers center is the only space where I can be myself; they allow me to work on my school work as they look after the baby. I believe I will have a better life in the future.