Why your Donation is Important

Successful completion of the PACE Programme is the only means by which teenage mothers are allowed re-entry into the public schools thus giving them an opportunity to complete their education. In turn once equipped with an education they are better prepared for gainful employment which reduces the chances that they will live a life of poverty and social dependence.

Despite community efforts to promote abstinence and the use of contraceptives, teen pregnancy continues to plague our society. In the Bahamas, births to teen mothers are approximately 13% of the total births each year. Admittedly, the reality of becoming pregnant causes teen mothers to place a greater value on education: teen mothers are often motivated to improve their grades, graduate from high school, and if possible pursue tertiary degrees (SmithBattle, 2007). It is unfortunate however that adolescent mothers renewed interest in school is often impeded by school policies, family responsibilities, and work (SmithBattle, 2007). Due to their pregnancies, teen mothers may have strained relationship with family members and their children’s fathers, reduction in number of friends, diminishing opportunities to socialize, and difficulty gaining employment (Herrman, 2006). Teen mothers who have unplanned pregnancy are often challenged to cope with the responsibility of motherhood, and are less likely to complete their secondary education, which often restricts their economic and social success in the future (Ehiri, 2009). Descriptive statistics, highlights that in The Bahamas, typically less than 35% of all teen mothers enroll in the PACE Programme, which provides a means to reenter the normal school environment.  On average, approximately 150 teen mothers enroll in the PACE Programme, seeking to continue their education despite reports that there are over 700 births to teen mothers annually. These statistics are alarming, and raises concerns about the impact of teen mothers’ lack of education on their newborns. Equipping teen mothers with a quality education can combat the social ills and challenges teen mothers faced, and improve the well being of their children.  With no intervention of a quality education, there exist the possibility that teen pregnancy continues for generations in a cyclic fashion, and poverty overshadows their future.  Thus, it would be remiss to ignore the impact of teenage pregnancy; hence, efforts must be made to educate teen mothers, in order to improve the well being of the mother and child.

Description of Solution

The PACE Foundation provides institutional strengthening to a program that has been in existence since 1969. We aim to ensure that this intervention programme is well equipped so that the education afforded to the students is just as good as in a government school and to make attendance at the school easier.

The proposed facility to be constructed over two phases would provide an improved library and information technology space, a science lab, a home economics lab and a cosmetology lab. This provides a means for more diverse and employment focused instruction.

A small day care facility would be added for students who are at risk of not attending because they cannot afford day care.

In phase II a clinic will be added as often girls with limited bus funds have to choose between attending school and attending clinic. On site facilities would allow be a means of increasing attendance at both.

There is no doubt that knowledge is power; thus, to combat the ills of teenage pregnancy education is vital.  Other agencies have sought to reduce the number of reported teenage pregnancies.  For example, the Family Life and Health Education classes in government schools are used as a medium to educate adolescents about sex, contraceptives, and abstinence. Additionally, the Bahamas Family Planning Association has developed a strategic national plan to reduce the amount of unplanned pregnancies. Although there exist several Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) seeking to address issues related to teenage pregnancies, PACE Programme continues to be the primary programme that combat challenges of teenage pregnancy, addresses the issue of preventing a second teen pregnancy and is the only means to facilitate teen mothers re-enrollment into a normal school environment after giving birth.

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