Author: Sandi Chimpala, June 6 2016 - Standing in a dark TV studio, Sharon Mutale poured out her heart.
"While in school I got pregnant...I was 16 years old. At that point my father stopped supporting me financially at school. He was very upset. When I met with my boyfriend I didn't know that I could get pregnant. I was so young...we were both young."
Now aged 19, Sharon hopes to continue with her education so she can get work to support her relatives and her child.
Sharon was sharing her story as part of Tikambe (Let’s Talk), a TV and radio show helping young people in Zambia learn more about protecting their sexual health. It gives advice on contraceptives, identifying sexually transmitted diseases and where to find health clinics. What’s more our viewers and listeners can learn from young people who are going through similar problems.
Our first episode focused on teenage pregnancy, and, in addition to Sharon, we interviewed a high-profile Zambian media entrepreneur, Lulu Haangala.
Visibly affected by Sharon’s story, Lulu shared her own experience and explained how she had gone into deep depression during her first pregnancy.
Without the support of a partner, it was financially and emotionally hard on her. After having the child Lulu ended up in a string of abusive relationships.
Eventually she re-discovered her self-confidence, met a very loving husband and is now expecting her second child.
Sharon and Lulu’s stories sent a powerful message to young people. Getting pregnant while young can affect anyone, from business women to school pupil, though with the right support, there is light at the end of the tunnel. It really struck a chord on social media.
"@tikambezambia great first episode.Sharon's story was quite touching.Looking forward to the next ones #tikambe"
"just watched #tikambe. Sharon's story is so sad. I hope things get better for her and I wish her the best!"
Many young mothers, affected by the same issue as Sharon and Lulu, were inspired by the show and got in touch.
As one viewer said,"Thanks for being an inspiration. I guess we grow from our past mistakes and make a better life for our children. I never knew how strong I was until I heard your story."
The social media response alone made me certain that Tikambe TV is exactly what both parents and children need. The show is a way of sharing inspiring stories, a source of information, and perhaps most importantly, a prompt to talk about sexual issues when people don’t know where to start.
Click here to access this BBC Media Action blog and related links on their work in Zambia.
Image credit: BBC Media Action
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