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'We need Women's Centre'

Published:Saturday | February 20, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The president of the Jamaica Volunteers Association spoke out against those who condemn the Women's Centre of Jamaica Foundation.

Professor Donald Morgan, president of the volunteers association, said there are persons who have said the Women's Centre encourages teenage pregnancy.

"We do not build prisons to encourage prisoners to commit crime ... . We need this facility," Morgan said.

"The Jamaican family has failed. The churches have failed," he added.

The Jamaica Volunteers Association president spoke at the opening ceremony of the kitchen and dining facility on Thursday.

Kim, 16, is six months' pregnant for her 22-year-old boyfriend. She found out one day, while at school, after doing a pregnancy test.

She said she started to cry. She called her father.

"Him start cry, too," she said.

Kim, who is against abortion, said she decided to keep the baby. Her father wanted to press charges against the 22-year-old man but didn't when Kim's sister asked him who would take care of the child if he did.

"Nobody never know seh me have boyfriend," Kim said.

Career ambitions

Sarah, who is also 16, had her daughter 11 months and six days ago. She said she found out she was pregnant when she was seven months along and started having back pain.

"Everyone was mad with me," she said.

Both girls are working towards completing their high-school education and furthering their studies in the sciences. Kim wants to be a paediatrician and Sarah wants to be a marine biologist.

Kim's boyfriend supports her financially and encourages her, along with her sister, to achieve her goals. The father of Sarah's baby does not support Sarah or her child.

"We find ourselves in situations we didn't plan for," Kamina Johnson Smith, attorney-at-law and member of the Senate, said at the opening ceremony.

She congratulated the Women's Centre staff and said determination, positive attitudes and God's love would take the pregnant teenage mothers through.

Names changed on request.