The Pregnancy Resources Center- Choices for Life is a registered non-profit organization that was established 28 years ago for the benefit for the poor and vulnerable, children, youth and pregnant mothers in Amanzimtoti and surrounding communities. All of our beneficiaries are unable to afford and private medical care and counselling, and due to the social ills that accompany poverty-stricken areas such as Bhekulwandle, where limited resources are available for proper sexual health guidance and support to youth in the schools. Many teenage mothers have to drop out of school to take care of their babies. To break this cycle of poverty, we provide holistic, comprehensive prevention and intervention programmes to children and youth, as well as the single mothers and fathers through counselling, material and emotional support. Daily we see cases of rape and abuse, HIV/AIDS and abandonment of babies. We provide various channels to the poor and vulnerable to access social and health services and ensure that they are provided with resources required to improve their quality of life.
To empower the community so they may be able to make informed choices on sexual integrity and related matters.
To educate and support the community through focused prevention and intervention activities.
The intervention programmes provide counselling and psycho-social support for youth, women and families to create a safe environment for those who may face a crisis pregnancy, to be supported through counselling with the aim at family reunification and restorative services. To further extend on our impact in the schools and communities, we aim to grow our team and include a mobile unit that will provide ultrasound, foetal heartbeat monitoring and counselling to mothers and parents who have limited access to counselling services. We aim to see healthy, happy families with decreased mortality of mothers and babies, as well as a decrease in teenage pregnancy and HIV and STD infections. Our prevention programmes is a sexual integrity programme aimed at the youth. We aim to provide community-based services to families pertaining to sexual integrity and pregnancy related issuses.
Early Childhood programme aims at children on areas of abuse and safety in family and stranger relationships.
Single mothers, single pregnant mothers and single fathers are empowered to be actively involved in their child’s development and growth through our various support programmes and counselling activities.
A new initiative is the crisis accommodation Kangaroo programme for abandoned babies.
History of the programme
Our organization was founded in 1991, where the focus was predominantly on intervention services such as housing for pregnant women in crisis and counselling services. Soon after we introduce youth programmes since we believed that we needed to get to the root of the problem and discuss the values of relationships, sexual integrity and related matters with the youth in our aim to prevent teenage pregnancies and abandonment babies.
The prevention programme expanded in 2012 with a few of our local high schools. There has been a direct need for the youth to have more information about love, sex and relationships.
We are currently working with 13 high schools in our area namely: Masanbgwe, Masakani, Dr Nembula, Kwa Makuthu, Sybonga, Zamgahle, Josephine School of sport, Donganga primary school, Strelitzia and Vikingozi High Schools. We run a 9 week programme during the schools LO lesson and use interactive learning sessions and games about Pregnancy, Foetal Development and Abortion, Contraception’s, sexually transmitted infections, HIV and AIDS. We have also assisted other NGO’S (Mother of Peace) through our youth programme with the rehabilitation of street kids partnering with I Care, as well as Mother of Peace holiday programmes.
Over the last 10 months from January 2017- September 2017 we have attended to 12250 youths. We have received motivation letters from the respective schools indicating that our impact had a positive effect in their schools as they observed a decrease in their teenage pregnancy rates, furthermore we are appealed to continue with this programme.
Our intervention programmes has also steadily produced very positive remarks in that mothers that learn skills such as pregnancy, food and nutrients, early childhood development and care for infants and HIV and AIDS in pregnancies.
Due to funding constraints in 2014 we stopped to house pregnant teens but network with other service providers in the area to continue this service.
Our services extends to family reunification and thus counsels families in and fatherhood programme. We offer psycho-social services and group empowerment programmes.
We envisage introducing Early Childhood Development programmes such as Kangaroo moms which is an emergency place of safety for babies for a period of 24 hours for 2 weeks. We will work with the police and welfare departments. In addition the Jerry Giraffe programme is also a new initiative designed for children to learn to respect their bodies and avoid abuse at an early stage.
We will offer scans where mother can bond early on in pregnancy. Research has shown the immediate bond between mother and child can reduce the high abortion rate and can alleviate the abandonment of babies.
The establishment of the Pregnancy Crisis Center t/a Choices for Life was mainly motivated by the rising number of teenage pregnancies specifically in the Amanzimtoti and surrounding areas. The Organisation sets to promote the value and respect for all human life, referrals for crisis accommodation to those in needs, to raise awareness in the community regarding sexual integrity and the value human life.
We are motivated by the principle of empowerment and do our best to enable disadvantaged and teenage pregnant women (and their significant others) to find relief, support and chance to become independent, confident and self-sufficient. The main drive for establishing the organisation was to create an enabling environment and opportunities for youths to be able to make informed decisions, to use and build their own support networks and act on their own choices. The resourcefulness of each person should be promoted by providing opportunities to use and build their capacity and support networks of their own choice. The Choices for Life offers counselling and prevention programmes to the women and/or families, referrals to legal, medical and other services as well as personal development. We have a few new initiatives such as Jerry Giraffe focused on Early Childhood in training children the value of respect for their own bodies. Keep the children safe.
The Undiluted programme focuses on the youth and deals with sexual integrity and responsibility in relationships.
The fatherlessness in our nation is another motivation for helping single fathers to connect with children and to take responsibility and care for their offspring. Family unification is core to what we stand for and do everything in our power to bring families together, this is very evident in the services we offer to beneficiaries:
- Pregnant Woman: Our organization is predominantly intervention service for teenage pregnant moms.
- Children- Early Childhood Development: The focus is on providing safe care and support for abandoned babies to avoid illness and death. Our Jerry Giraffe programme targets children between the ages of 4 to 6 years with objective of educating them about safety and abuse. The prevention programme extends to primary school children from the age of 11, where they are educated on sexual health, responsible choices and encouraged to take ownership of their individual bodies and emotions. Our programmes provide extensive support and counselling for children of all age as and when needed.
- HIV/AIDS: Mothers at risk of infecting their babies are educated on the importance of adhering to their medication and encouraged to provide bottle feeding to their babies. The Undiluted programme has an extensive focus on HIV and AIDS education to create awareness among youth on the risks of unprotected sex and available services for HIV and AIDS testing. All our beneficiaries, children, youth, mothers and elderly have access to counselling for HIV and AIDS and are referred to local clinics and hospitals for testing and treatment.
- Families: Unplanned pregnancies can cause conflict in families and we provide support to the family with counselling services. Support and care is given to single pregnant and pregnant mothers, as well as fathers to ensure the family unit is preserved as far as possible, with the focus on the responsibilities and involvement required from parents. Assistance with baby packs provide short-term support to assist families with economic and social service empowerment. Our workshops are key to bringing families together.
- War on poverty: All our prevention, intervention and support programmes include an empowerment focus to ensure improved health and life choices that will break the cycle of poverty within the communities we serve. We provide life skills training and counselling to children, youth, mothers and fathers aimed at encouraging behavioral change to overturn their poverty mindset.
- Tackling children’s poverty: Empowerment of single mothers and fathers provides the opportunity for their children to be nurtured is a safe, healthy environment where they can have access to social grants and care for their children. HIV and AIDS education is done to decrease the mortality rate of adult caregivers and ensure that there are less child-headed households in the communities we serve. Children are encouraged to attend school and be educated to empower them towards becoming self-sustaining adults and break the cycle of poverty.
- Youth Development: The main objective of our undiluted prevention programme is to ensure youth are empowered with the knowledge they need to make informed life decisions and take ownership of their health sexual choices. We develop their sense of identity and empower the youth in 13 schools to complete their education and aspire beyond the limitations of social ills through comprehensive life skills development and support programmes.
- Early Childhood Development: Jerry Giraffe and Kangaroo moms.
This is a brief over view of what our pregnancy resource center (Choices for Life) does. We rely on donations of any form to continue to be a blessing to others. We would not be able grow without the kindness of donors.