March 21, 2011

At 14, most girls are probably on their first crush, first date, first puppy love. Around this age, girls take their first awkward step into womanhood.

At 14, young girls experience physical changes brought about by adolescence. At this young age, they are perhaps only starting to learn how to become a woman.

But in this coastal community in Masantol Pampanga, at 14, there are girls who have taken humungous leaps into motherhood. At this young age, these girls are either pregnant or have already given birth.

Sapang Kawayan is a small village in Masantol Pampanga. At first glance one would think there is nothing extraordinary about this town. But upon closer inspection, the hard truth reveals itself – many mothers in the village are actually girls.

Reyneth is 14 years old. Instead of attending class in school, she is busy attending to the needs of her baby.

Maan, 15 and a friend of Reyneth, has also had to sacrifice school for the sake of her child. She stays at home learning how to take care of her young family.

Reyneth and Maan are not isolated cases of teenage pregnancy in the village. There are more girls in Sapang Kawayan who are living the same fate. In this small town, they say there is little opportunity for women. After elementary, not many are able to go to high school.

But Janine would like to be the exception. She dreams of pursuing an education. She has just taken a critical test, the results of which will significantly change her future. But it’s not the school’s final exams that she’s worried about. Janine has just taken a pregnancy test, making her fear that she too might become a young mother of Sapang Kawayan.

For Women’s Month, Kara David visits Sapang Kawayan to find out why these young girls take the early and difficult road to motherhood.

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