It’s an all too common story that we hear around the world. Sex education is either lacking or not provided at all to young men and women; access to birth control is restricted; and/or pre-marital sex is seen as taboo and is unspoken of. Unplanned pregnancy is just one of the many possible outcomes of this preventable combination and often leaves women disproportionately disadvantaged as a result. This is the case in Vietnam, where women who are pregnant out of wedlock are likely to face backlash and rejection from their family and community, resulting in isolation. Giving It Back to The Kids (GIBTK), a US-based non-profit, works in Vietnam to provide support to pregnant women and single mothers in such circumstances.
Although sex education is a main component of their work, their current and immediate focus is on providing health care, emotional & mental support, education and financial assistance to pregnant women and single mothers through a safe house called ‘Father’s House’.
A high rate of teen pregnancies means that a lot of their services are aimed at pregnant girls and single teen mothers. Oftentimes arriving with a sense of shame and guilt, they are welcomed into the safe house. Apart from the physical, emotional and mental care they receive to prepare them for and support them through giving birth, GIBTK’s goes further than that, and assists the new mothers with ongoing education and training with the goal of enabling financial security for the women.
Nguyen Thi Minh Lanh, Home Quadrant Director and Emotional Health Program Director adds, “The Father’s House is a place that provides girls the freedom to make their own life choices. It is free of stigma of being an unwed mother, provides physical, emotional and spiritual care, whilst equipping them with necessary skills on handling emotions, life skills and parenting skills to help them feel safe and secure when they start their independent life without GIBTK’s support.”
And the program is changing lives. The team report that most new mums that have gone through the program have a job and can financially and emotionally support themselves and their child. Many former residents regularly visit the House to share about their current life and act as mentors to current residents.
A current semi-finalist in Project Inspire 2016, GIBTK is competing in the crowdfunding stage of the competition. Every donation acts as a vote in getting them through as a wild-card in the Finals. Head to www.projinspire.com to cast your vote today!