‘Why I chose to return to school with my baby’

17-year-old Sharon in Kasese opted to return to school and shares her story of regret and restoration

By Hope Muzugu
child mother, teenage pregnancy, girls education, UNICEF, Uganda, teenage pregnancies, COVID-19 school closures, return to school
UNICEF Uganda/2022/Muzungu
28 March 2022

Of the thousands of teenage girls estimated to have gotten pregnant during a two-year COVID-19 lockdown in Uganda, 17-year-old Sharon in Kasese opted to return to school and shares her story of regret and restoration.

“I was so overwhelmed! The day I found out that I was pregnant I knew I had reached a point of no return.”

Sharon was in Primary Seven when schools closed in March 2020. Three months later, a family friend from Kampala visited Kasese town. He told her that he loved her. Sharon didn’t believe him at first, but one year later, was pregnant with his child. 

“I felt like the world was getting bigger and bigger and I was getting smaller,” Sharon says. 

Sharon’s boyfriend returned to Kampala before the baby was born. Sharon doesn’t know where he stays and only gets to speak to him on the phone. He sends money for the baby’s upkeep occasionally.

When school reopened in January 2022, Sharon’s mother approached the headteacher and explained her situation. The school administration had received training on receiving children back to school, including those who were pregnant, married or new mothers. The school administration offered a room at a nearby homestead where a caretaker could watch the baby while Sharon attended class. With counselling, Sharon decided to repeat Primary Seven. Initially her friends made fun of her, thinking she would not balance school and motherhood, which only strengthened her resolve the more.

“I wanted to show the other girls that even though you make a mistake, you can still return to school. When I am in class I really concentrate on my lessons. Sometimes I forget that I have a child and its only when my aunt comes for me that I remember,”

Sharon takes three breaks a day to breastfeed her three-month-old baby.
child mother, teenage pregnancy, girls education, UNICEF, Uganda, teenage pregnancies, COVID-19 school closures, return to school
UNICEF Uganda/2022/Muzugu

The teachers are very supportive and after witnessing Sharon’s resolve, the students are becoming supportive too. In February, Sharon was elected as head girl. 

Everyday Sharon’s aunt Cleophas walks with her to school and minds the baby while Sharon attends class. She says she offered to look after the child so that Sharon can return to school and have a chance at a good life in the future.

Sharon wishes to become a professional chef upon completing school.  

“I know I made a mistake, but my mother encouraged me that I could still make a future for myself. She told me to make the right choices henceforth. I am determined to,” Sharon says.


“When my daughter grows up, I will tell her to stick to her education until the time is right.”