Read more about Mulenga

Mulenga lives with her daughter, her parents, her father's second wife and her ten siblings in a remote village in Zambia. She used to go to school and wanted to become a doctor when her mother discovered she was pregnant.

It’s difficult being a mother. I don’t have time to play anymore. My daughter often cries and I have to stay at home and take care of her and wash nappies. Before I had a baby, I used to play and go wherever I wanted. I like playing football.

I had no idea how you get pregnant. I didn’t even know I was pregnant. We didn’t learn about those things at school. It was my mother who told me I wasn’t looking well. When I realized I was going to have a child, I was upset and annoyed. My mother was too. I told my boyfriend, but he denied responsibility.

My father took me to my boyfriend's home and told his parents: 'We’ve brought this child here because she’s pregnant. You can only return her once you’ve paid us 5000 Kwacha.' 
It took four months before they paid a third of the money and I had to stay there during that time. He’s not my boyfriend anymore, but we talk to each other sometimes.

I was afraid of the delivery. When the nurse told me what it was like to give birth, I thought I might die. I went to the clinic with my mother in an ox cart. My labour was very painful, but I didn’t get any injuries. When we came back with the baby, I didn’t know how to take care of her, so my mother taught me. She helps me a lot, even at night when my baby cries.

I don’t like being a mother, but I like my child. I feel good when I look at her. I worry about the future and who will buy her things like soap and clothes. When she grows up, I'll take her to school so she gets educated because it’s good for her. I'll also warn her and tell her not to go out with boys.

Before I had the baby, I was in seventh grade and I really liked school. My favorite subject was math and I wanted to become a doctor. I hope I can go back to school when the baby is six months old because then my mother can take care of her. I want to become a nurse, and I know that if I study and pass the exam, I can do it.

I've recently learned you can protect yourself from being pregnant. You can go to the clinic and get contraceptives, but I’m too shy to go there and ask for it. I’ve stopped sleeping with boys.


I was very sad when I learned about Mulenga’s pregnancy. When it was time for labor, I went with Mulenga to the clinic. I was scared because I know what it’s like. I felt like it was me going through everything again. The first weeks Mulenga wasn’t very caring, so I took care of the baby and taught her how to do it. I hope she can go back to school, maybe when the baby gets older. She’s not allowed to have any more boyfriends.

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