Back-to-school support for adolescent parents

Back-to-school support for adolescent parents

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

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THE Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation (WCJF) on Monday received a cheque valued at just over $1 million from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) to support and offset back-to-school expenses for adolescent parents.

This represents the AHF’s support to the WCJF’s Advancing Secondary, Tertiary Remedial, Education for Adolescent Mothers (A-STREAM) Programme.

The A-STREAM programme helps teenage parents to continue their education, thereby increasing their job opportunities. It also equips them with the necessary tools to take care of their children.

A-STREAM, which was launched in March 2018, has three main components — mentorship, sponsorship and scholarship. This is the third year of partnership between the two foundations.

Addressing the official handover ceremony at the AHF’s offices on Hagley Park Road in Kingston, AHF Regional Director Dr Kevin Harvey said the contribution signifies the foundation’s commitment to young people under the Girls Act Programme.

“We are very pleased that the programme has continued and we are very happy to hand over our tranche of funding… to support those who are going back to school this year,” he said.

“I know it’s a little bit more challenging for back to school and we are going to look to see whether we can help you a little bit later down with masks and hand sanitisers,” Dr Harvey added.

He said the AHF is happy to be collaborating with the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation to assist with the education of adolescent parents at the secondary and tertiary levels.

“We are committed to providing funds for at least three years to cover full tuition to ensure from start to finish of a three-year course, and for those who were in high school to be able to complete CXC or CAPE-level studies,” he said.

Expressing gratitude for the support, executive director of the WCJF, Dr Zoe Simpson, said the contribution will enable adolescent parents to continue their education.

“The partnership warmed our hearts then, continued to warm our hearts for the second year and in this third year [it continues to warm our hearts]. We thank you so much for the commitment and for making it happen for the girls and the young men,” she said.

She noted that a solid education is at the base of nation and community building as well as personal development. “We are happy that you share the vision of us educating our young parents,” she added.

Dr Simpson said that for the most part, the recipients have embraced the support through the programme.

The A-STREAM programme offers tertiary scholarships to adolescent mothers who have matriculated from the WCJF programme. It also provides a $40,000 bursary for adolescent mothers who are reintegrated into the secondary school system.

Established in 1978, the WCJF motivates young mothers to choose education instead of continuous motherhood.

The AHF is the largest non-governmental organisation worldwide that provides medical care and/or services to individuals infected or affected by HIV/AIDS.

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