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Sihiba's story

My name is Sihiba Yusufu. I am 12 years old.  I became pregnant when I was 11, in Standard Five. My baby’s name is Leila, and she’s one year old. The situation in this area is depressing. Many girls have children… children have children.

I agreed to have sex because that is what we were taught during initiation.  We were told to take good care of men by offering ourselves to them.  That’s why I tried. Being a mother at this age is tough.  I can’t take care of my baby and myself. Getting basic needs such as food and clothing is tough.  It’s a miserable life.
 
I was kicked out of home after it was confirmed that I was pregnant, and I decided to go to my grandmother. Grandmother also chased me away, saying she could not entertain my stupidity. I left and went to live with my friend. I lived at my friend’s place for some time.  There were days when we slept without eating.
 
I went into labour pains, and neighbours went to inform my mother. They told her that I had not been feeling well for three days and she came to pick me up and brought me to a clinic. But I was denied admission on the grounds that I was too young, and was told to go to the regional hospital at Ligula, which is 30km from here.
 
I delivered a premature baby, and I was advised to stay at the hospital until I had recovered sufficiently and the baby had put on some weight. I stayed at the hospital for 15 days and was discharged, but was told to take the baby to hospital after every two weeks. Sometimes I had to walk to Ligula, arriving on the following day after sleeping on the way. This continued until the baby attained the required weight, and I was advised to attend the clinic here.
 
I could not go to school after they discovered I was pregnant. I also could not go back to school because I had no one to help me take care of the baby.  They think that I’m a grown-up just because I have given birth.
Sihiba took part in a project on Pinterest to show here day to day life, which you can see here. We are very pleased that since then our support has meant she has been able to begin vocational training back at Nanguruwe Primary School.
 
We are delighted to have been chosen as Allen & Overy's charity partner. The international legal practice is currently funding two projects in northern Tanzania, helping young people in the area to access their sexual and reproductive rights and stay in school. You can read more about this project here.