Jessie is Zambia bound to help teenage mums
Teenage mothers in Zambia will be able to look forward to a bright future thanks to a groundbreaking project which benefits from the skill and experience of a 71-year-old Falkirk woman.
Retired nurse teacher Jessie Herd, a member of the Church of Scotland Guild, is looking forward to seeing first-hand the “inspirational and empowering” work being carried out in Kanyama, a district on the edge of the African nation’s capital Lusaka, by the Journeying Together project.
Run by the United Church of Zambia (UCZ), it supports 50 girls who live in a densely populated area which is often struck by severe flooding during the rainy season.
Poor drainage and sanitation – very few homes have toilets - can lead to outbreaks of cholera and dysentery with babies and small children most at risk.
The project, spearheaded by Deaconess Mable Sitchali, provides core training in essential skills like nutrition, parenting and sex education and works to build confidence in the girls and challenge social injustice.
They are given the opportunity to return to school to finish their education or provided with vocational training in a skill to enable them to make their own money.
Jessie, a member of Stenhouse and Carron Parish Church, said: “I have never travelled in a Church Christian group before and I am looking forward to the experience and the fellowship with colleagues and our Zambian project leaders and participants.
“Having witnessed what seems to be a similar type of scenario for young women in Chennai, India when I was teaching, I am interested in how Zambia and this project are addressing these issues.”