Teenage pregnancy in Brazil remains a very serious problem today. According to a study by the Feminist Network for Health every 20 minutes a child is becoming a mother. Teenage pregnancy in adolescence is often the reason girls drop out of their education. 95 % of girls aged 15 to 19 who got pregnant did not finish their basic education. This situation indicates a serious problem for public policies to address in Brazil. Source Datasus Sistema de Informcão Nascidos Vivos 2020.
When Maria was just 15 years old she sought out the social services in order to flee from a violent home and was referred to the Safe Home in Recife supported by Happy Child International. The young girl arrived with a small bag of clothes, her six-month old baby in her arms, frightened and disorientated. From that moment on we the Happy Child team began to care for her and give her the support she and her baby needed.
Over the 11 months that she was with us the team helped her to regain her equilibrium and self-worth, supporting her and her baby through the most difficult of times.
During her time with us, Maria returned to her studies part time and engaged on an apprenticeship programme with CIEE (Centro De Integracāo Empresa Escola) - a non-profit organisation that integrates school leavers into the work place on apprenticeship programmes and remunerates them.
After a lot of work and investment Maria did reunite with her own Father for a brief period. However later she decided to get back with her partner and today they are building a family together. She has managed to continue studying and works part time. Maria says “My life is better and I am so much happier and fulfilled.”
Happy Child International is still committed to protecting young vulnerable girls who are at risk of teen age pregnancy. A study by the Feminist Network for Health stated that lack of support and lack of information, insecure living environments and those from a poor background with less educational opportunities are most likely to encounter early pregnancy. Much more needs to be done across the political spectrum and through public policy to help girls like Maria in the North and North East of Brazil.