*Mercy (not her real name) wanted to be a businesswoman after finishing her A level, she was inspired to this by an uncle who is a successful businessman in Arusha. Mercy is the firstborn in a family of 2. Since she was born, she has always seen her father who is an alcoholic getting drunk every day, the situation made her anxious about her future.
Her desire to become a businesswoman is informed by the experience she has been through growing up in a family where she sees her mother struggle by washing clothes for neighbors and doing other odd jobs to feed the family while the father is wasted away with alcohol. This experience made her determined to have an attitude of not depending on someone so much because, in the end, they will fail you as she sees the role her father plays in the family.
When she was 16 years old, she started a relationship with a 22 years old neighborhood they were living in, a few months after the relationship, she discovered that she was pregnant. On informing the man, he left the neighborhood without informing *Mercy, she was left alone with the challenges of how she was going to face her parents and schools about her situation.
Within the second month, the school matron discovered that she was pregnant and she was immediately dismissed as per the government policy of not accepting pregnant girls in school and not letting them back even after giving birth.
When the pregnancy became known by family and friends, *Mercy got accused by family members that she is the one to blame for the pregnancy, both her parents also blamed her for the situation she was in, this left her stressed on what she should do. Like many families she was being forced to get married, facing these choices her dream of being independent and providing for herself and her family was all but dead.
It took the intervention of a family friend who has some experience in addressing issues of teen pregnancy who informed her that there is still a chance for her to pursue her O and A level education as a private candidate, then *Mercy started to see some glimmer of hope in her life and future circumstances, after giving birth to a daughter this determination to make it in life grew stronger.
Currently, she is waiting for her child to grow so that she can register to take her O-Level examination as a private candidate. Given another chance *Mercy says she would have not gotten serious quickly in the relationship and focused on her education first because the situation she went through made her learn that one mistake especially for women can affect their life for many years.
*Mercy is one among many girls who find themselves in situations that they did not intend to be in but are always blamed by the community and in most cases their families, the people whom they trusted to support them in good and tough times in life. They are condemned to a life of guilt that without intervention will be a part of their life. Iyanna Foundation intends to address the course of teen pregnancies, help girls who find themselves in such situations, and give them a second chance in life. Girls like *Mercy given an opportunity can become an advocate for women facing situations like hers.