Giving love to teen mothers

Pearl Day

Founder of Basket of Love, a non-governmental organisation based in Maun, Pearl Day, has called on women to stop framing men for rape as this has unnecessarily destroyed lives of many men.

Speaking during Christmas hamper donations to the organisation in Thito ward last Friday, Day alleged that many men are in prison due to false accusations of rape by disgruntled women and lovers.

“It is very sad. Our fathers, brother, uncles and sons are in prison, convicted of rape because a woman who was not happy when the man refused to give her money, went and reported him for rape. This is not fair,” said Day.

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She further called on communities to go back to the roots where a girl was taught how to behave and conduct herself in front of males at a young age. By so doing she added, issues related to gender-based violence would be reduced.

“Often when we talk GBV (Gender based violence), we seem to forget that men are also affected, and it is us women perpetrating this kind of abuse against men. Because we can release those crocodile tears, it is easy for us to be listened to, but let’s think about the many lives we are destroying by falsely accusing others because of selfishness,” further stated Day.

Day runs an NGO that takes care of teenage mothers and their children. Registered in 2017, Basket of Love currently has 33 children under their care.

Further noting the far-reaching consequences of GBV, Day said many girls in and around Maun and in fact in the country are vulnerable to sex related crimes and other human rights violations.

“It is the biological and step-fathers, uncles and brothers who often impregnate young girls in the families and from there these young girls are hidden from society and prevented from talking or revealing it to anyone,” added Day.

A pastor by profession, Day says she believes her calling is not preaching good news on the pulpit but rather finding and protecting teen mothers and their children from any further violations and making sure they go back to school.

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“Some of these girls drop from school due to pregnancy. After delivery, they are kept from school by their babies as they have to tend their babies at all times. By taking these babies and taking care of them during the day while their mothers go back to school, Basket of Love is giving these girls the opportunity to practice their right to free education,” added Day.

At the play group that Day intends to change into a pre-school next year, the children are bathed, fed and taken care of while their mothers get free lessons on how to take care of their babies and how to be responsible mothers.

As the saying, it takes a village to raise a child, the organisation has roped in older women to help fight children abuse within their communities.

Lekopanye Mombala, 56 is one of the women, who are keeping an eye on the matter, “We are teaching the girls on how to take care of themselves and generally on issues of GBV, what it is, what it entails and where to go if need arises.”

This past Friday a local travel agency, Sense of Africa donated Christmas goodies to the children. The company’s product manager, Maxine Eustice explained that part of their mandate is to support locals especially those trying to bring change in their community.

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