The Programme for Adolescent Mothers (PAM) has been in existence for more than 25 years and has provided sterling service for approximately 1,000 young women in that time.
Young women who might have been written off by the education system in Grenada were given an opportunity to finish their education; a number of whom are now working in various professions such as nursing, the financial sector and running their own businesses.
Rumours abound about the events preceding the government’s withdrawal of subvention to the programme and the matter is apparently before the courts. Notwithstanding this, where are the voices who should be advocating for the restoration of the service for the young women? The Grenada National Coalition on the Rights of the Child was the agency who initially created PAM and since education is a right under the UN Convention, are they ensuring that the service is to be reinstated as soon as possible?
It was said by the Minister for Education that the present students would be allocated places in schools and other agencies deemed appropriate. Experience has told those of us working in the field that while some students might want to remain in school, most of them felt stigmatised and wanted a sanctuary where they could be close to their child while continuing their education.
Who is now looking after the babies while the students are returned to school? There are some parents who have the capacity to look after their daughter’s babies but this is not possible for most parents as they are working.
The difficulties occurring in the management of the programme need to be resolved immediately, adults who are concerned about our youth must see who is important in this scenario, it has to be the future of the students and their children.
The other issue pertaining to this matter is that Heritage House, the home of PAM was bequeathed to the women of Grenada and was officially handed over to PAM recently. This is a marvellous, old building which will continue to be maintained by PAM as the guardians of the property, however if the programme is not running it will become increasingly difficult to raise funds for its maintenance which in itself would be a tragic loss for Grenada’s heritage and also for the women of Grenada.
The disaffected parties are urged to get around a table and discuss the matter urgently, it is not you who suffers but the students and their children.
Grenada Association of Professional Social Workers Inc