By Faith Ngabirwe
The excitement of schools finally opening has taken the country by storm, with many students visibly eager to get back to the school routine, meet their friends and continue the grind for a better future. However, this is not the case for many pregnant or breastfeeding child mothers.
As if self-judgement is not enough, a religious leader last week blatantly put it that pregnant girls should be blocked from accessing Church of Uganda-founded schools because it is against their original stand to base a good education on imparting discipline and knowledge.
Some debates are visibly harsh and dangerous to this country and should not be given any attention whatsoever. In an era where we have very many advocates for girl-child education, including the State, it is rather sad to see morals being put on a higher pedestal than human rights.
Some things should be shameful to say and when caught thinking out loud, one would have to apologise over and over again. People fornicate daily in this country, but just because they do not get pregnant, we assume that they are holy and keeping up with the original stand of the Church. In these two years out of school, very many girls have engaged in sexual activities, unluckily, some of them got pregnant and actually kept the pregnancies.
I am not condoning early sex, however, what’s the worst that could happen if girls returned to school after they became pregnant? To seek to reduce adolescent child bearing by choosing the unlucky few to act as martyrs for the rest is a very shameful and absurd venture. I would think of it this way; why not let the girls make the decision on whether they should return to school or not? This is her body and she bears all the changes, all the conditions.
She is the one carrying a human being. I do not see why another human being should be bothered that a pregnant girl is in class. I mean, she’s the one that’s going to struggle with early morning classes, stress of classes and exams, and not you. While you enjoy your air-conditioned office, she will be running in between the classroom and washroom, striving for a better future. Give her a break!
In all this chaos, there’s a male who has moved on like nothing happened. They’re probably able to return to school without any glitches whatsoever, and have a normal life as the girl with whom him he had a good time, is living a bad life, albeit alone.
The religious leaders tried to downplay this argument, saying boys are also suffering with having to now take care of the pregnant or breastfeeding girls. But we all know that the ghost of patriarchy lingers around day by day, tormenting girls for decisions that a man could also have prevented.
Pregnancy is not a contagious, incurable deadly disease that should have men of God throwing around harsh words, in the name of morality. Girls, who unfortunately found themselves in positions where they had to carry a pregnancy, should not be made to feel like these are the end times the good book talks about. In the end, “Only God can judge!”