Connecting local responses around the world
Some years ago, Wiwin, SALT-CLPC facilitator from Bandung, Indonesia brought a SALT visit to Babes in Singapore. Wiwin recalls: “at that time we carried out a living room chat. Teenage mothers, their mothers and their babies came together and we chat just like we are talking in the living room. At that time I was overwhelmed with happiness that we could share our vulnerability, we shared our love and we ate delicious food”.
During a Virtual SALT visit in April 2021, in the context of The Constellations Go Girl programme with 20 attendants from Asia, Africa and Europe, Santhiya from Babes shares how they translated the learning from that one SALT visit:
“When Wiwin came she taught us how to have important conversations in a very easy way. What we learned from Wiwin we actually adapted it and developed it into one of our programmes”.
One of the success activities of Babes currently are three days camps that are set up in way that the girls and their families come together to check in with their emotions, to just speak and talk about different issues they are going through. Santhiya: “So we actually get the moms together to create their own support group, and then we get the girls together and we engage them in several activities like drama and fun games where they all bond together. When they first came in they were all so shy and they were so worried. But during the three days they realized their stories are all the same. They all share the same struggles, same challenges, they all come from families, they all have gone through pregnancies and given birth at young age and feel lost. But that support group that they are building together, that space that we gave them was so beautiful. Because when they came in they were alone, but when they were leaving they felt so supported and they felt they had gained new friends who were going to be with them”.
And there is more! “When we did the living room conversations with Wiwin we realized that the mothers of the teenage girls had more stories to tell. So during the camps we split them so that they too find a space and their own support group. And we actually also invited the boyfriends or the husbands, those who made the girls pregnant: to listen and to understand and we gave them little tasks as well to embrace new fatherhood”.
Santhiya shares the biggest proud of Babes work now: “When we have gained the trust of a girl to reach out to us, we invite her to bring others as well. We have the girl, we have her mother, her best friend, the boy friend or his family: all of those important people surrounding the girl engaged in a whole series of conversations. The whole idea is that this support system around her is strong and that we gather everybody to ensure that the girl and the baby are able to live a stable and safe life”.