Until November 2021, teenage mothers were banned from continuing their education in public schools, and even now there are few public schools that meet their needs.
We are setting up a new inclusive and stigma free learning center in Tabora, Tanzania to help these girls regain their education goals and eventually access higher education, vocational and other technical training. Such Alternative Education Pathways (AEPs) are a proven model of enabling teenage mothers to continue an education.
Although the government of Tanzania has recently lifted the ban that was hindering adolescent mothers from continuing their education in public schools, few public schools meet their needs. Also, the experience of teenage mothers is surrounded by stigma because Tanzanian society is largely patriarchal and regards girls who get pregnant while in school as immoral. For this reason, also because of poverty, many teenage mothers lack support from their families.
Tumaini Education Program is creating an inclusive and stigma free learning center that enrolls teenage mothers who are excluded by the public school system before they have taken basic education qualifications. It operates as an open school to offer basic education and vocational skills for adolescent mothers who will be able to sit for national examinations and have the chance of proceeding with higher studies, other formal trainings and or engaging in entrepreneurship.
Tumaini School is a sustainable learning center that will enroll up to 600 teenage mothers each year. It will enable teenage mothers to have a second chance of accomplishing a basic education cycle and restore their right to access higher education in the formal system. The school will also set up a model learning center which can be replicated by other stakeholders in the country wishing to support the thousands of girls who drop out of schools due to pregnancy.