Meeting a vital need….
The community and personal issues
On February 24, 2019, Taiwan News reported that a 21 year old woman had drowned her child on December 21, only 5 days after giving birth. This is such a terrible tragedy which is consistent with our experience. We do know that pregnant teenage unmarried girls face several challenges when they discover that they are pregnant and have the responsibility of looking after their babies. They are still ‘young’, ‘immature’, and are not able to take on the responsibility. They do not get any support from their male partners, the father of the baby, and often when we read of child abuse to the extent of death of the baby, it is the babies of these young people.
Young people in complex situations
The culture of sex liberation among the young generation, teenage pregnancy, and teenage parents has significantly increased. The number of unmarried mothers has increased tremendously in our youth service centers, drop-out centers, etc. We know that these youths need to survive in society with high risks of lack of money, poor health, low self -esteem, poor living situation, and many are from dysfunctional or problem families. Therefore, a project of caring for them is necessary.
Good Shepherd services
We now have 2 centers for these services for ‘Three Young’ . One in Tainan for girls who have left our residential service for single mothers and have decided to keep their babies. The other is in Luzhou New Taipei City where the teenage mothers from our youth center are helped separately in a group. Others who know of this service have applied to join this group; now there are 14 young mothers.
Five goals of Services for ‘Three Young’
- Educate and discuss with girls at risk of becoming young parents the information about pregnancy, delivery, self-care, raising healthy baby, etc.,
- Provide individual counseling and group support for pregnant girls and young parents.
- Find community resources to provide necessary materials, such as milk, diaper, baby clothes, baby powder, etc.; and find volunteer host mothers to participate in the supportive group and help look after the babies when the young mother is attending education classes or counselling sessions. We also try to connect one volunteer mother to sponsor one family on a regular basis.
- Monitor baby health and development every 2-3 months and refer to early treatment if it is needed.
- Advocate for the well-being of young baby, young mommy and young daddy and make known this significant issue to the public and government.
Facebook services now
Finally, there are two Facebook network built up for communication and advocacy. One is for our members (clients and workers) usage. Through this network, we provide necessary information, at least 3 times a week, and to be used as a part of communication channel among members. The Public Facebook network is for advocacy, education, and communication to the general population. We are planning to have a website to replace the Facebook network.
Planning for a website in the future.
When a girl discovers she is pregnant she may panic and be unable to make a wise decision for the future. A website will allow girls to safely ask for help or information. This is still in the planning stage.