Roda Justino Mapswanganhe, a mother at 16

“In the evenings the child does not let me sleep, I have to help with the chores at home and still going to school. I do not even have the time to talk and play with my friends today” – Roda Justino Mapswanganhe

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Roda Justino Mapswanganhe, a resident of Michangulene Village, Changalane Administrative Post, Namaacha District, Maputo Province, was 15 when she fell in love with her schoolmate who was a year elder to her. Like all girls of her age, she was ambitious and hoped for a great future. “We made plans, including finishing my studies and going to work in South Africa”, says Roda in a dejected tone. Her voice loaded with suppression, her days with monotony. It was too late for her to realize that the future held nothing for them and to make the matter worse, she ended up getting pregnant. Roda is a mother of a 2 year old boy – Ângelo Isaías.

“This situation created problems that I never had imagined. The fear of telling my parents and suffering discrimination at school ate me up. I fled to my aunt’s house in Changalane. That year, I not only missed my school but also went through personal agony. I was a huge disappointment for my family, everywhere in our village people were discussing me.”

 Roda found support in her uncle and aunt who helped her during the gestation period and once her son was born, convinced her parents to get her back. A lot had changed in this one year. The father of her son fled the village in a fear of being forced into assuming the responsibility of their child.

Roda currently studies in 7th Grade at Michangulene EPC. The journey has not been easy for her. “It’s a difficult life. When I go to school, I leave the baby with my mother. When she goes to sell the products at the bananalândia fair at the end of each month, the baby is with me. I don’t go to school during his vaccinations. Everything gets reflected in my school performance.”

Much to Roda’s relief the school has been kind enough to reintegrate her in the classes, they also provide her with extra lessons to keep her at par with other students.

“I wish my child to grow up healthy and to be well-mannered and studious. I would like to continue to studies and fulfill my dream of becoming a nurse, because I have a longing for it. I have felt and lived the care given to patients and that has captivated me a lot.

Its a long way to go and I know I have to work very hard for it!”

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