KZN NPO addresses teenage pregnancy

Ikusasa Ngelami facilitators Mbali Ngcobo, Phaka Mazibuko and Xolly Ngubane. | Supplied

Ikusasa Ngelami facilitators Mbali Ngcobo, Phaka Mazibuko and Xolly Ngubane. | Supplied

Published Jun 20, 2024


Durban — Local non-profit company Ikusasa Ngelami aims to curb teenage pregnancy in KwaZulu-Natal.

After a fruitful session of guiding the youth at Lytton Crescent in Pinetown this week, the NGO still has youth-centred sessions lined up for this month.

Founder of Ikusasa Ngelami, Zonke Shazi-Hlongwane, said the session on teenage pregnancy was fruitful because young girls spoke freely about their challenges and feelings on the topic.

“We wanted to have a discussion with young girls on teenage pregnancy without their boy peers, who might joke around on the topic.

“Also, for young girls to talk about their challenges without feeling embarrassed,” Shazi-Hlongwane said.

The session also had a medical practitioner, Dr Nokufika Mathabela, who provided information on the topic to the girls and answered their burning questions, while she provided life and social skills.

“I get goosebumps even as I talk about it. It was a great session because girls got real information,” Shazi-Hlongwana said.

“Dr Mathabela explained to the girls about their physiology and how their bodies are not ready for pregnancy. The girls got real information on the health effects of pregnancy.”

From left Khanya Dlamini, Zonke Shazi-Hlongwane, Dr Nokufika Mathabela, and Nicole Msizazwe. Picture: Supplied

The NPO was founded informally in 2013 in Inanda, working with girls and boys and providing psychosocial services to address social and emotional challenges that children and parents may face. Counselling services offered include individual and family counselling.

“My aim as someone who experienced the difficulties of being a teen mom was to help girls who had similar experiences,” Shazi-Hlongwane said.

“Also, to caution other girls who were not mothers to avoid teenage pregnancy.

“We also have boys in our group and we teach them the importance of taking accountability and not sleeping with girls because the responsibility of taking care of the child will be left with the girls only.

“I later realised that I had to help them not only from my own understanding but also to have an educated opinion.

“I studied sociology online and Child Youth Care Honours at Durban University of Technology because I wanted to help the youth based on research counselling, and help them find solutions.

“After 2019, we were formally registered and I had the confidence to assist young girls and boys in avoiding teen pregnancy and drug abuse, and in gaining self-esteem.

“Our organisation also works with many young girls who were born HIV positive and helps them understand their condition, gain self-esteem, and speak out about their challenges of living with the virus,” she said.

Their counselling is incorporated with parenting skills because she finds there needs to be a balance with parents and their children and what they learn from the NPO.

“We also want to plant practitioners in schools to be there when learners need counselling and guidance on these topics,” she said.

Shazi-Hlongwane said Ikusasa Ngelami will host young boys this Saturday.

“We are targeting boys because they also face challenges growing up, ranging from mental health to growing up in single-parent-headed homes, to restore their hope and self-esteem.

“We believe boys can also play a role when they take responsibility and not see girls just as objects to satisfy their sexual needs.”

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