At seven, Georgia was already living wild and scavenging and trying hard to survive. “I cut straw and made a place to sleep in the bushes,” she said.
Why? Seven-year-old Georgina had taken her mother’s money and spent it. To avoid being spanked by her mother upon being threatened, Georgia left home. She lived-in self-made thatch hideouts and abandoned houses. Many nights men and boys tried to have sex with her, but Georgia said she survived. She continued to do menial jobs and managed to continue her schooling till class six.
Georgia was found by a facilitator working with the International Needs Ghana’s project on Promoting Adolescent Safe Spaces at Kissi in the Komenda Edina Eguafo Abrem (KEEA) municipality of the Central Region.
She was supported with basic educational materials to go through school.
“The group was something God sent to help me. That is what I believe, and I thank God for the Safe Spaces. At a point they supported us with sanitary pads and it helped me a lot”.
Life was alright for Georgia until the pandemic set in.
“Many people were at home because of the pandemic and did their menial jobs themselves. I was not getting the jobs that kept me going. So, one day a boy gave me Gh5.00 cedis for food because I was hungry. In exchange he demanded sex. Life was hard for me. I was hungry and that was how I became pregnant,” she stated.
So, with all the information Georgia had as a member of the Safe Spaces she got pregnant.
“I was worried and broken because I was an active member of the Safe Spaces. I had let the group down and could not gather courage to attend meetings,” she intimated.
“I have been teased and humiliated. It is sad that I had a child with all the information that I had from being a member of the Safe Spaces,” she lamented.
But gladly Safe Spaces continued to guide Georgia through her pregnancy and managed to get her to polish her talent in braiding hair, so she could engage in some income generating activities to support herself and the baby.
Georgia, now 16 said the feud between her and her mother had been resolved and her mother has agreed to take care of her baby while she returns to school to complete her basic education.
“I cannot be a drop out. I am determined to complete basic school and be a lady. I want to be a journalist and I am determined to achieve that. I believe it is not the end of my life. I can still make something out of my life. She advised young girls to be careful and avoid sex.
This story emanates from the Promoting Adolescent Girl’s Safe Space (PASS) project being implemented in the Cape Coast, Mfantseman and Komenda Edina- Eguafo Abrem Municipal Assembly by INGH in collaboration with UNICEF and UNFPA under the Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage.