Youth For Christ KZN – Tennyson House recently hosted a parenting workshop for homeless teen moms. The workshop saw a number of teen moms who live on the streets and in abandoned buildings in Durban voicing out the problems and challenges that they come across.
Nomusa Ngwenya, who was speaking on behalf of homeless teen moms said they fail to give children basic needs such as proper food and shelter. “Our children eat food that we beg from people, we sleep with children in abandoned buildings, bus terminals and municipal recreational parks. We also struggle with safety and security from aggressive adults. We date people only to get food from them”, said Ngwenya. She said homeless teen moms are addicted to drugs such as glue and whoonga and this makes them have less time for their children. “Some people want us to do things for them or even work for them without compensating us”, said Ngwenya.
Marcel Tantij, Child Welfare Representative who was speaking at the workshop said teen moms must learn to take responsibility and protect children from situations of abuse, neglect and other forms of maltreatment. Tantij said foster care program and adoption options can also be considered for the sake of children safety, security and development.
“Our organisation is here to assist and advocate a safe environment for the best interest of the babies, we also assist with medical assistance, and we facilitate life skills programs that cover the issue of teenage pregnancy”, said Tantij. She said their organisation invites homeless teen moms to voice out issues of gender based violence that are encountered on the streets.
Nonku Ndima, Tennyson House Outreach Coordinator said their organisation and programs help people living on the streets of Durban with the aim of making them remember their homes that they need to return to, rather than helping them manage and survive on the street. “Our aim as an organisation is to rehabilitate and reunite the homeless with their family. Street life is a nightmare, children are neglected and do not get proper care, they are used as bait to get money that will later be spent on drugs and alcohol. We still believe that it takes a village to raise a child. It is our responsibility as an organisation to give hope, support and make a positive impact in the lives of teen moms living on the streets of our city”, said Ndima.