Young women in rural Zambia face many dangers! But the most devastating, future-altering problem is teen pregnancy. Zambian culture believes that a woman can only feel fulfilled when she has a husband and children. Therefore, many young women don’t develop a strong sense of self-worth or any aspirations for the future.
Growing up with critical parents and a lack of educational opportunities, many girls have low self-esteem. With so few options for young ladies in Zambia, some will date as a means of entertainment. Often this leads to unplanned pregnancies.
Recently, Tracy, a trained teacher, decided to do something! In conjunction with Bright Hope staff, Tracy started the Young Women’s Club on Mbabala Island. This club helps girls who struggle to find purpose and identity within the rural context of life in Zambia. This intervention has great potential to introduce girls to Jesus and help them find Hope and worth in a relationship with Him.
Tracy opened up about the cultural struggles in Zambia, saying: “When you reach the age of 12, your parents already expect you to start dating. When you’re 15, they expect you to find a husband. When you are 20, they say, ‘Now you are too old! You need to get married and find your husband and have children.’”
Education is Key
Right now, the Young Women’s Club has 13 members ranging from ages 13 to 18. The weekly meetings include Bible study, baking lessons, and plenty of time to play netball and other sports. The girls learn to set meaningful goals. They begin to value education. And, they understand how an unplanned pregnancy can derail their plans. Tracy also provides access to one-on-one counseling sessions with our education coordinator.
Tracy shared: “I think education is the key. Most of the girls here are dropouts. Then these young moms don’t have money to send their kids to school. So, I really advocate for education.”
The club equips these young ladies with basic entrepreneurship skills to help them start businesses, achieve financial independence, and pay for their schooling. So far, four of the young women have already started baking businesses.
The Young Women’s Club helps them discover their God-given abilities and find their worth in a relationship with God. In addition, the club helps them prioritize reading and applying God’s Word to their lives so they will grow in spiritual maturity and intimacy with the Lord.