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MOTHER’S DAY: emphasis on young mothers


This upcoming Sunday, we pay tribute to and honour the mothers of our nation. Traditionally, the focus on this occasion is on the mothers of the older generation who have sacrificed and made their invaluable contribution towards building and developing our country’s most precious resource – our children. We respectfully pay our homage to them.{{more}}

Today, however, we wish to pay special attention to the young mother’s of our nation, a category often overlooked during our Mothers’ Day commemorations. But it is a grouping which, whilst up against formidable challenges, also has tremendous possibilities for development of themselves, their children and the society as a whole.

Many of them are working mothers, some single-parents, combining the tasks of parenting and providing for the family. In today’s competitive world where job opportunities are not always easy to obtain or maintain, this entails additional responsibility to further one’s education by way of studies, training etc, all making further demands on the limited time of young mothers.

There are also the less fortunate, those young mothers without a job, and sadly for all too many of them with little or no financial support from their male counterparts. This is a worrying area, especially as the world focuses on poverty reduction. Young mothers must be a key target group, ensuring that they are taught parenting skills, family planning; participate in programmes and activities aimed at building self-esteem; and learn how to manage meagre resources. Many of these women have entrepreneurial dreams, so it is also important to help to nurture these.

The Gender Affairs department and several civil society groups have been doing excellent work in these areas, but need more support and assistance. Times have changed a lot from a few decades ago when being a housewife was considered an achievement in itself. In today’s rough economic times, very few can afford the luxury of depending on a single provider for the family, and concentrating only on domestic tasks. The bar has been raised significantly and we must help our young women to face up to the new situation and to be prepared for a multi-tasking world.

Social changes have now resulted in a situation where the doors to further education are no longer unfairly shut to young women who become pregnant while in school. Many are being given the opportunity, denied to previous generations, to resume their studies. This trend, though frowned upon in the more conservative sections of our society, must be encouraged and supported.

As we salute the mothers of our nation and the world, let us be mindful of the young mothers in our midst. They are the ones whose guiding hand can help to nurture a new generation, to imbue the messages of love and solidarity, care for others, all of which are so sadly lacking in our society and contribute to crime and lawlessness engulfing us all.