According to UNICEF (2017), 38% of girls under 18 in Sierra Leone have given birth. In Street Child's research, 74% of girls we spoke to ranked pregnancy as one of the top five barriers to education. After Ebola, the situation has worsened as teenage mothers are subject to higher levels of poverty.
Street Child helped teen mothers back into education by identifying extended family members to help with the baby's upbringing, providing food packages, providing business grants and training so mothers can create a sustainable income and providing a school package to help mothers re-enter education. Ongoing counselling to help overcome stigma was provided.
The girls returned to school and finished their educational journeys whilst also establishing a small business. This will have long-term benefits: UNICEF's (2017) research shows that even a single year of secondary education has the potential to increase a girl's future earnings by up to 25%. Investment in girls' education also has a multiplier effect - educated girls are more likely to benefit from better family planning and have healthier children who also remain in education.