Teen pregnancy rates in Bulgaria are extremely high, and many of the girls who become pregnant live in poor, segregated Roma communities, lacking access to basic resources or information. Due to severe poverty, the majority of mothers and children suffer from anemia, which causes stunted physical and cognitive development. This yields poor learning outcomes, and in severe cases, premature death and disability with significant long-term consequences.
TSA is working with a baby food kitchen in the Fakulteta area to provide 70 Roma girls with pregnancy supplements or warm, nutritious meals for their children on a daily basis. In order to feed their malnourished infants, TSA will enroll the mothers in the program and subsidize the cost of their food on an individual basis. In doing so, TSA is able to guarantee that vulnerable teenage moms are providing nutritious foods to their children, which then allows their infants to undergo normal growth.
Childhood stunting due to malnutrition and starvation deserves urgent attention as it impacts the physical growth and cognitive development of the child affected. By giving teen moms the resources to adequately feed their kids, we will improve Bulgaria's future and provide these kids with the chance to lead normal, happy, healthy lives. We will measure the impact of improved nutrition on growth and iron levels, and if improved, municipalities will subsidize the program for at-risk populations.