By: Foday Manneh
A survivor of a teenage and unwanted pregnancy who shared her story with TAT recalls how she was hospitalized for three weeks while in a coma due to the complications caused by the impregnation at an early age.
The survivor (name withheld) was not only an intelligent, outspoken, or brilliant student at the time of her misfortune but also served as the Head Girl of a prominent high school in The Gambia.
However, she dropped out of school in Grade 11 due to the trouble meted to her by a boy she would never see again.
“My entire life changed. I was not going to school anymore. My parents and society were disappointed and judged me. My child’s father was nowhere to be found,” she recalled.
“The only support I got was from my brave Mother, who I am always proud of. I suffered complications to the point I went into a coma and was hospitalized for three weeks in Banjul. I thought I had died,” she added.
Three months after giving birth to a son she cares for, the young lady decided to resume school to complete her education and not give up on herself.
“I used to leave my son with my Mother, who was also working. She was determined to see that I made it in life. She took up the sacrifice to take care of the child while I went to school,”
The new Mother will also be responsible for picking up her son from his grandmother daily after school. In addition, she will return home to take care of the house chores, coupled with raising her baby as a teenager.
“It was a difficult moment for me because returning to school was not good for me; instead, society kept pointing out and disappointing me. My peers shamed me,”
“I had no choice but to look for another school. Moving on, I never gave up. I concentrated on my life and believed I could make it. Later I graduated from high school with flying colors,”
After her graduation, it became evident that the young Gambian lady was an intelligent child whose life faced undesirable situations. Therefore, she got accepted for a three-month course on Information Technology in Sweden, Europe.
As she completed the training with the joy that her life was getting back on track, she welcomed yet another story, if not similar to what she had during her high school days. But, this time, she described it as the “most heartbroken” experience.
“my second child broke me into pieces because. I was never ready for it. I did not know how it happened because I listened to a young boy with whom I got into having sex in the wrong time,” she narrated in tears.
According to her, she promised to stay strong with her two children and give them all the motherly support they needed at the time.
However, years later, life will give her another hard shot to take as her daughter became the next survivor of Gender-Based Violence at the domestic level, heavily affecting her family and loved ones.
The Mother of two thought silence would be a bad idea, so she decided to seek support by reporting her daughter’s case. Subsequently, she was offered the necessary clearance by Paradise Foundation.
“Nobody was there to support us. I was with my child receiving psychological support. I am still affected by my mental health because I am all my children got. I left all the people I know, friends, and love because I made the right decision,” she said.
“I want young people to know that we make choices in life, whether good or bad. However, that does not define us as a person,”