Women’s Centre Empowering Young Mothers


The Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation has reported that it assisted some 1,544 teen mothers to enroll in various training and educational institutions.
In the organization’s recently published annual report for 2006/07, Executive Director, Beryl Weir said the Foundation will continue to advocate for a structured system of re-entry to school for every teen mother.
“This will ensure that none is denied the right to education. The Government of Jamaica recognizes the importance of the work that we do and continues to provide valuable support. We work with the school population offering seminars, work shops and training of Peer Counsellors – through these we believe we will continue to help in improving the knowledge, values and practice with regard to their sexual and reproductive behaviours,” she said.
Mrs. Weir added that, “We were able to deal with the challenges experienced during the year by the efforts of our cadre of well trained and committed staff, sponsors; and I want to commend those school principals who continue to accept these mothers, post pregnancy”.
The then Programme for Adolescent Mothers was established in 1978 in a response to the high level of teenage pregnancies that existed. In 1991 it gained Foundation status and was renamed the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation. The Foundation strives to provide corrective measures to problems associated with teenage pregnancy especially in the area of interrupted education.
During the review period, 93 students attended CXC classes. The Kingston Centre is operated as an external examination facility, and has a dormitory which accommodates students from across the island.
Over 2,275 youngsters were assisted through counselling related to employment and personal problems. Some 900 babies were accommodated at the day nurseries operated at the main centres and five outreach sites. The facilities are registered with the Ministry of Education’s Early Childhood Unit, and provides care for babies of teen and working mothers.
Recently retired manager for the Manchester Centre, Rosalee Robinson-Smith told JIS News that the majority of girls leaving that facility have gone on to settle in marketable skills, the police force, teacher’s colleges and universities.
“Many of them came in very depressed, head downs with tears flowing, and just seem to be without hope. After we explain to them how our programmes have helped other girls they always leave smiling. I have moving moments when I walk the streets and young ladies come up to me and say that they still have one child, and they are in college or working,” Mrs. Robinson-Smith commented.

JIS Social