STOLEN YOUTH: WOMEN TOO EARLY

Christine, now 17-years-old, got married when she was 15 and lost her first child just three days after he was born, most likely due to an umbilical cord infection, when she was 16. She is now seven months pregnant and is also taking care of her three-year-old younger sister Mayron.

Rose, 16-years-old, is currently breastfeeding her first child of five months. The father of the baby never came to take his responsibilities, so Rose’s father is the only one who is taking care of her and the baby as Rose’s mother has already passed way.
Christine dropped out of school in secondary two and Rose dropped out at the end of primary six, both due to a lack of financial availability from their families. Christine and Rose live in a very remote and rural area in the tropical highland forest in Cameroon, making their living through farming cocoa. They represent thousands of teenage mothers in Cameroon.
Many girls in the village drop out of school, having sexual relationships with young boys, and becoming pregnant before the age of 18. They start doing chores around the home and take responsibilities as adults. Girls become women too early, missing their childhood and adolescence.
Africa has the world’s highest rate of adolescent pregnancy, a factor that affects the health, education, and earning potential of millions of African girls. 2014. Bakumba, Cameroon.

About the author:
Paolo Patruno (Italy, 1972) is freelance social-documentary photographer and filmmaker. He traveled throughout Africa over the past ten years, documenting global topics, including health care, human rights, gender equality and women’s empowerment.  Since 2011 he is working on a long term project called “BIRTH IS A DREAM”  which aims to document and raise awareness about maternal health in Africa, now extended to developed/industrialized countries. He has been published by The Huffington Post, VANITY FAIR, Daily Mail, REFINERY29 and others.

Christine, 17 years old, already got married and already lost her first child when she was 16. Now she is 7 months pregnant and she is also taking care of her young sister 3 years old Mayron. Bakumba, Cameroon. 2014
Rose, 16 years old, is currently breastfeeding her first child of 5 months. The father of the baby never came to take his responsibilities, so Rose’s father is the only one who is taking care of her and the baby, as Rose’s mother already passed way. Bakumba, Cameroon. 2014
Christine dropped out of school in Secondary two, due to lack of financial availability from her family. Bakumba, Cameroon. 2014
Peter, Christine's husband, is 22 years old. They got married when they where respectively 19 and 15. They lost her first child just three days after he was born, most likely due to umbilical cord infection. Bakumba, Cameroon. 2014
Christine collecting water at a source close to the village. She will carry water using heavy tanks. Bakumba, Cameroon. 2014
Christine with her little sister carrying heavy water tanks on their backs. Girls in Africa too often miss childhood. Bakumba, Cameroon. 2014
Christine is also taking care of her young sister 3 years old Mayron. Bakumba, Cameroon.
Christine during anti-natal visit provided by Polette, the local nurse who lives in the village of Bakumba. Bakumba, Cameroon. 2014
Christine, 7 months pregnant, is still doing heavy homeworks, go farming cocoa in the forest. Bakumba, Cameroon. 2014
Bakumba is a rural village in western Cameroon. At every corner you can find young girls with babies or already pregnant. Bakumba, Cameroon. 2014
Rose dropped out of school at the end of Primay six, due to lack of financial availability from her family.
Girls get pregnant and have first babies very early, before the age of 18. They become women when still too young, taking responsibilities as adults. Bakumba, Cameroon. 2014
Girls, dropped out of school usually before the end of Secondary, start homeworks very early. They became women too early, totally missing their childhood. Bakumba, Cameroon. 2014
Many girls in the village drop out of school early, having sexual relationships with young boys, and getting pregnant before the age of 18. The elders of the village say that was not happening at their times, but more of the last decade, due to civilization and modern times. Bakumba, Cameroon. 2014
youth
Anita is 15 years old. She is one among the thousands of teenage mothers in Cameroon. Bakumba, Cameroon. 2014
Foebe is 16 years old. She is one among the thousands of teenage mothers in Cameroon
Morin is 17 years old. She is one among the thousands of teenage mothers in Cameroon. Bakumba, Cameroon. 2014

The post STOLEN YOUTH: WOMEN TOO EARLY appeared first on Positive Magazine.

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