PhotoSummer: Artist's Statement

Carol Allen-Storey

Out of the Shadows

An epidemic of teen pregnancies is permeating the population in Rwanda. All unmarried, living in poverty. Vulnerable girls as young as 13 find themselves in this unwarranted circumstance. Many as a result of rape and others through ignorance of engaging in sexual activities without protection. The fathers abandon them. They bring shame to the family. These emotionally damaged adolescents have assumed the awesome responsibility of being mothers when they are still children.

"Hope for Rwanda," a local charity based in Rwanda, supported by the Global Fund For Children was founded to address the lack of services to support these vulnerable teen mothers. The organisation offers an integrated programme of phyco-social counselling, prenatal and parenting skills, legal assistance regarding human and children's rights. These pregnant teens, mothers have found a refuge and support system in a culture that has deserted them. They now have a community they can depend on.