More than 60 percent of the population of Cameroon in West Africa is under the age of 25. As with many countries in Africa, poverty, poor educational opportunities and other cultural factors have contributed to an increase in sexual behavior among the unmarried teens in Cameroon. Along with this increase has also come the increased risk—and reality—of unwanted pregnancy.
It is common in many African countries for a girl who is pregnant to be expelled from school. Without education, a single mother often has no way of supporting herself and her child(ren). They become trapped in a cycle of poverty from which there seems to be no escape. Many young women turn to prostitution, which often fuels the cycle—and heightens the additional risks of addiction and disease.
In partnership with Orphan Grain Train (OGT), Lutheran Hour Ministries—Cameroon operates a vocational school to offer a hand up to single teenage mothers. In 2011, OGT provided LHM—Cameroon with sewing supplies and a trailer-sized shipping container, which was converted into a training facility. Now a young woman who enrolls in the ministry center’s “Divine Sewing School” can equip herself to provide for her family.
Not long ago, a young mother named Bayemi and her two-year-old son came to Lutheran Hour Ministries—Cameroon’s office in Yaoundé. She had heard about LHM—Cameroon through the center’s radio programs. “I came to your ministry center to request your assistance—something just to help my son and me survive,” she told the staff. “My son’s father abandoned me when the child was born. I am jobless, and sometimes I have to resort to begging so we can have food.”
The ministry center’s staff took care of Bayemi. They invited her to enroll in both the center’s sewing school and its Bible Correspondence Courses. She expects to graduate from the sewing program in January 2014.
“Thank God!” Bayemi says. “Not only have I received relief from my hardship, but now I foresee a bright future for my son and me! May God pour His blessing on LHM and its special program for teen mothers!”
To learn more about how Lutheran Hour Ministries’ holistic ministry programs demonstrate the love of Jesus and help people around the world break the cycle of poverty, visit www.lhm.org/international.