A Girl Called Happy’s primary focus will be supporting teenage mothers living in poverty. About 16 million women 15–19 years old give birth each year, accounting for around 11% of all births worldwide. Ninety-five per cent of these births occur in low- and middle-income countries. The average adolescent birth rate in low-income countries is five times as high as that in high-income countries (World Health Organisation).
Teenage mothers are often not able to complete secondary school, which makes it difficult for them to find jobs that pay well enough to take proper care of themselves and their children. Consequently, many children of teenage mothers are unable to get an education and they too are likely to fall into poverty creating a vicious cycle of early pregnancies, illiteracy and poverty, which can be hard to break. A Girl Called Happy will address this by providing teenage mothers with the opportunity to attend either school or vocational college, supporting the girls to become educated and lifting them and generations of children out of poverty.
A Girl Called Happy will initially start working in Kampala, Uganda with the Mummy Foundation. Pregnancy rates amongst teenage girls are quoted at 25% (Uganda Population Secretariat, 2011), making Uganda one of the countries with the highest rates of teenage pregnancies in Sub-Saharan Africa.