Teacher arrested, released on $100,000 bail

first_img…denies charges of sexual grooming, sexual assault and rapePolice on Saturday arrested Bishops’ High School teacher Coen Jackson at his Pollydore Street, Lodge home and charged him for sexual grooming, sexual assault, and rape allegedly committed on a former student.He has denied the allegations, but has been placed on $100,000 station bail and has been made to surrender his passport.He is expected to be arraigned in the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts today (Monday).Jackson is being accused of abusing his position of trust as a teacher, grooming female students for sexual activities after they would have attained the age of 16 — the legal age of consent. Jackson has vehemently denied the accusations, but has admitted to having sexual relations with two former students who are both in their early 20s.The Police claim that between December 2010 and May 2011, at Durban Street, Lodge, Jackson raped one of his students.The Ministry of Education launched a full-fledged investigation into the allegations, and upon completion of that exercise, authorised the Police to begin conducting a criminal investigation of the allegation.The Police investigation has resulted in Jackson being charged for one count of rape. However, the Police say their investigation is still ongoing, as they are still investigating other allegations against the teacher of over 20 years.It was the Ministry of Social Cohesion’s Cultural Advisor who broke the news of Jackson’s alleged sexual misconduct on social media, and that story has since resulted in a number of past students relating their experiences.The Cultural Advisor, in a letter to the Chief Education Officer, detailed numerous reports he had received from current and past students of this teacher, who allegedly sexualized his lessons, had inappropriate conversations with female students, and engaged in multiple sexual relationships with female students.last_img read more

Fort St. john student to compete in world’s largest science fair

first_imgA Fort St. John student will be competing in the world’s largest science fair.Taneille Johnson, from the North Peace Secondary School, was one of 16 students chosen to represent Canada at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.Her project was entitled “Defining Functional Interactions in Naturally Occurring Telomerase Mutants”. Telomerase is an enzyme found in DNA. – Advertisement -Johnson’s project was chosen by a panel of Canadian university faculty, industry researchers, and educators, through a competitive national selection process that evaluated the students’ projects based on content and innovation.Johnson will be competing against roughly 1,500 other students, from more than 40 countries. She will have the chance to win a portion of the nearly four million dollars in prizes.This year’s science fair will be in Reno, Nevada from May 10th to 16th.Advertisementlast_img read more


first_imgThe last load of rubbish collected at Loughside.The residents of the Loughside Community were out in force yesterday with a massive cleanup operation taking place in the townlands between Ramelton and Letterkenny.More than 100 residents again took to the roads and streets of the Loughside to clear the area of rubbish and litter.Loughside residents met at a number of prearranged meeting points at 10:30am and townland area coordinators managed the clean up in their respective Townland areas. We can’t skip over this load of rubbish!The residents spent two hours lifting rubbish and litter before meeting in the Silver Tassie at 1pm for a cup of tea/coffee and biscuits, kindly sponsored by the Ciaran and Rose Blaney. The collection equipment, bags, gloves, high viz vests and the collection Skip were all provided by Donegal County Council.Loughside Community PRO Tom Higgins said “This was our second year organising a clean-up day and we were delighted with the turn out. It was a very worthwhile exercise and the residents of Loughside Community should be extremely proud of themselves.“We had boys and girls, Mammies and Daddies and a few Grannies and Granddad’s all lending a helping hand. The rubbish lifted included crisp bags, bottles, fast food boxes, old traffic cones, a gas cylinder, an ironing board, a lorry tyre, a TV, an old bicycle, a car bumper and a few old political candidate posters. We filled the skip that was provided and two additional trailers. Tom Giblin kindly brought along his Shetland pony and cart to entertain the children and as it seems some of the adults too”.The Loughside Community would again like to thank Martin Roarty and the Waste Department of Donegal County Council for the support and the Silver Tassie for providing the tea coffee and biscuits. A special word of thanks must also go to Hugo Callan, Tom McMullan, Tom Giblin, Kieran Sweeney, Conor Crossan, John Murphy and Tom Higgins who all provided their cars, vans and trailers to transport the rubbish.PLENTY OF ‘HORSE SENSE’ USED TO CLEAN UP LOUGHSIDE COMMUNITY was last modified: April 28th, 2015 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:clean-upletterkennyLoughside communityRameltonrubbishlast_img read more


first_imgA MAN accused of stabbing a pensioner in his home will find out on December 16 what charges he will face at his trial.Patrick McLoughlin was stabbed at his home in Convent Road in Carndonagh in May this year.Lee Mitchell, who is 33 and has an address at Windmill Park in Letterkenny, has been charged assault causing harm and with a burglary at another address in Carndonagh on the same day. Inspector David Murphy told Judge Paul Kelly the case was being adjourned until December 16 to await directions from the DPP.STATE AWAITING DIRECTIONS FROM DPP ON INISHOWEN ASSAULT SUSPECT was last modified: October 26th, 2014 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Carndonaghchargesstabbinglast_img read more


first_imgGAOTH DOBHAIR’S impressive Minor team have been crowned County Champions 2014 after a win over rivals Dungloe/Na Rossa at Mac Cumhaill Park today.The gaeltacht club were good value for their five point win and have impressed throughout the championship.The final score was 0-11 to 0-06. Elsewhere today St Eunan’s grounded out a six point win over Cloughaneely in Termon in the U21 Championship semi-final.The Letterkenny side had several good opportunities to finish off the game either side of half-time but failed to take their chances.Cloughaneely eventually levelled the game with 15 minutes left, missing a chance to take the lead.But that just fired up the Eunan’s players who were sharper and fitter – with Sean Hume superb from frees – and they saw out the game with a series of points to win 0-15 to 1-06. They will now play Kilcar who had a very impressive 4-16 to 2-04 win over Four Masters at O’Donnell Park.Convoy and Milford with contest the U21 B Final – also next weekend.Convoy beat Naomh Columba 2-09 to 0-10 while Milford beat Glenfinn by four points, 3-10 to 3-06.GAA NEWS: GAOTH DOBHAIR CROWNED MINOR CHAMPIONS, WHILE EUNAN’S AND KILCAR IN U21 DECIDER was last modified: December 13th, 2014 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:convoyGaoth DobhairkilcarMilfordMinor ChampionsSt Eunanslast_img read more


first_imgBANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND: A SAFER DRIVING MESSAGE FROM AN GARDA SIOCHANAAs we head into the May Bank Holiday, we must take note that tragically, 64 people have lost their lives on Irish roads to date. This is 13 more than this date last year.To reverse this increase in fatalities, An Garda Síochána and the Road Safety Authority appeal to all road users to exert maximum care on the roads over the coming days, and in particular, to the large numbers who will be travelling to various parts of the country. Reducing your speed, wearing your seatbelt, not drinking and driving, being alert and concentrating fully on the task of driving, are all proven lifesavers. Vehicle users are reminded there will be significant enforcement activity over the coming days, targeting all road traffic breaches and in particular the key lifesaver offences.The milder weather has brought about an increase in motorcycle traffic in recent weeks, and sadly this has been reflected in the number of fatal road traffic collisions involving motorcycles. The number of motorcycle fatalities has doubled from 3 to 6 in the past four weeks alone.With this in mind this Bank Holiday will focus in particular on motorcyclists. We ask all motorcyclists to make sure they are visible and always ride responsibly. We also ask other drivers to specifically look out for them.Whether you are an all year round motorcyclist, or are now taking your motorcycle out after being in storage for the winter, the basics remain the same. You must wear appropriate protective clothing and ensure your helmet is correctly secured. Trainers and jeans offer little protection in the event of a collision or contact with the road. Make yourself as visible as possible with the aid of a high visibility vest or bib and ride with your dipped headlights on. This ensures you are doing everything you can to be seen by others. Whether it’s a commute or leisure ride, be aware that more than half of motorcycle fatal collisions since 2011 have happened on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, typically 12pm-6pm. Mr. Leo Varadkar, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport said today: “Bank holidays provide everyone with a well-deserved break, but road safety is one area where none of us can afford to take our eyes off the ball. I urge everyone travelling this weekend, whether for pleasure or work, to be vigilant. There is a long litany of tragic accidents on bank holiday weekends. Motorcyclists should be especially vigilant as there have been several bad accidents this year. Let’s all try to ensure that this coming weekend is one of the safest yet.”Assistant Commissioner Gerard Phillips added: “We must reverse the increase in fatalities we are currently facing so we appeal to all road users to always concentrate 100% when on the road. For those that may be travelling for this bank holiday, we want them to do so safely, so please remember the basics of reducing speed, wearing seatbelts, never drinking and driving, being alert and concentrating fully on what you are doing. Coupled with this there will be significant enforcement activity targeting non-compliant vehicles users. Together we can make the roads safer for all”Commissioner Phillips continued: “More than three quarters of fatal collisions involving motorcycles since 2011 have involved another vehicle so we appeal to riders make yourself as visible as possible, always ride responsibly and take extra care especially when overtaking or lining up for a bend on the road. In addition a motorcycle is about a third of the width of a car, so drivers must watch out for motorcyclists, especially when coming out from junctions, overtaking or changing lanes – Look, look and look again for motorcycles before you move.”Highlighting motorcycle safety in the run up to the bank holiday weekend Mr. Noel Brett, CEO, Road Safety Authority said “Motorcyclists really are vulnerable road users. From 2000 to 2012, a total of 466 motorcyclists have died. In 2011, a total of 18 motorcyclists were killed and a further 324 were injured on Ireland’s roads, accounting for 10% of all fatalities. For a motorcyclist, the risk of dying in a traffic crash, per vehicle kilometres travelled, is about 24 times higher than it is for a car occupant.”He added, “The lack of a protective shell combined with high speeds means that motorbikes will always be more exposed to risk than other road users. However motorcyclists can greatly reduce this risk by taking some simple precautions. For example by investing in and wearing good personal protection equipment and ensuring that their bikes are properly maintained. “Training also plays a key role in improving safety by improving the competence levels of motorcyclists on the roads. So if you have never received any formal training the RSA’s Approved Driver Instructor programme, allows motorcyclists to avail of expert tuition from RSA-approved instructors all around the country. The list of instructors can be found on rsa.ie.” concluded Mr. Brett. Motorcyclist / Pillion Passenger Fatalities – 1st January 2011 to 2nd May 2013 ·        2011: A total of 17 motorcyclists and 1 pillion passenger were killed·        2012: A total of 16 motorcyclist and 3 pillion passengers were killed ·        2013: A total of 6 motorcyclist have been killed year to date – the same number as the corresponding period last year ·        The four most common types of collision seen over recent years involving motorcyclists and other vehicles were:-o A motorcyclist overtaking another vehicle turning right resulting in the motorcyclist colliding head on into the side of the turning vehicleo A motorcyclist overtaking a vehicle travelling in the same direction colliding head on with an oncoming vehicle.o A motorcyclist losing control while taking a corner and crossing into the path of an oncoming vehicle resulting in a head on collision.o Another vehicle turning or driving through a junction / joining a main road from a minor road colliding with a motorcyclist  May Bank Holiday Returns 2008-2012Detail20082009201020112012Fatalities (people)24142Fatal collisions24132Serious injuries (people)1541096Serious injury collisions112553MAT Checkpointsn/an/a1,2081,1031,029MAT Breath testsn/an/a16,90511,7378,663Intoxicated while driving incidents468345284154195All figures are current as of 2nd May 2013 and are provisional, operational and subject to change.BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND: A SAFER DRIVING MESSAGE FROM AN GARDA SIOCHANA was last modified: May 2nd, 2013 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND: A SAFER DRIVING MESSAGE FROM AN GARDA SIOCHANAlast_img read more

Looking back in time

first_imgTo make the Orange Line busway bloom, landscapers undertook one of the largest plantings ever in Southern California, with 850,000 plants and 5,000 trees now growing along the 14-mile route. The $20 million project was so large, designers couldn’t find enough mature plants for the job and had to have nurseries grow the shrubs from cuttings. The effort transformed the former railroad right-of-way from a dirt stretch covered with weeds and trash into a ribbon of green foliage from North Hollywood to Woodland Hills. “It’s turned out better than I expected. It’s a tremendous boost to the community,” said Peer Ghent, president of the Valley Glen Neighborhood Association, who helped oversee the Orange Line landscape design. Native plants such as the coast live oak, the sycamore and the tiny apricot-petal sticky monkey flower will attract native birds and wildlife and help give the Orange Line a sense of place, so riders know they’re in Southern California. Ghent and other community activists pushed the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to beautify the busway, calling it a one-time opportunity to break up the asphalt environment and add thousands of plants and trees to the urban landscape. Initially the MTA planned to irrigate only the 14 stations and along soundwalls where vines were being grown as a deterrent to graffiti. But after community activists complained that the plants would wilt without water, the MTA agreed to spend $2 million more to irrigate the entire route. The agency stuck with drought-tolerant plants, however, in hope of limiting water usage, Transportation Planning Manager Kathleen Sanchez said. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Weekcenter_img And the MTA installed special purple pipe along the route to use recycled water from the Tillman Wastewater Treatment Plant in the future. Today, even Sanchez is pleasantly surprised by the result. “I thought it was going to look more sparse than it does. It looks great.” Landscape designers chose native plants that reflect the San Fernando Valley’s heritage and other hardy, drought-tolerant plants to withstand the scorching summers with little water. In the Sepulveda Basin, activists persuaded MTA officials to use only California native plants, including some shrubs and trees of types found in the Valley before it was developed. “It brings a little more naturalness to the Valley. If you have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create wildlife habitat, then that’s something you shouldn’t ignore,” said Steve Hartman, treasurer of the California Native Plant Society and a Valley resident. The hardy, drought-tolerant and native plants need little water, fertilizer or maintenance. No mowing is required, which means less use of gasoline and less air pollution. Mowing an acre of grass costs roughly $250 a year in gasoline. Landscape architect and urban forester Guy Stivers helped choose the Orange Line palette, and he hopes the busway landscaping will attract folks to drought-tolerant and native plants. “As they cruise by at 50 mph, they are going to see a mosaic of grays, browns, rust colors and light greens. It should be a lot more dynamic than your run-of-the-mill landscape,” he said. There will be some other surprises for bus riders, said Bill Ropp of Valley Crest Landscape Development, which did the planting. “Very observant people will notice very deliberate placement of trees,” Ropp said, refusing to divulge the secret of the design. “Ride the bus and see.” Kerry Cavanaugh, (818) 713-3746 kerry.cavanaugh@dailynews.com STICKY SITUATION The sticky monkey flower is a California native plant that sprouts tiny apricot-color flowers at the end of the year. It’s one of nearly 850,000 native and drought-tolerant plants set along the Orange Line. The MTA also planted more than 5,000 trees, including California natives, such as the bushy yellow-flowered palo verde, the coast live oak and the cottonwood, whose leaves turn bright yellow in the fall. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Irish Water work to repair two water mains bursts in North Donegal

first_imgThere are reports of two burst water mains in Donegal this afternoon.A water main has burst in Ramelton and another has burst in Fahan.Crews are at work repairing both, promising to “restore supply to all affected areas as soon as possible.” Repairs to the burst water main in Ramelton may affect the surrounding areas also.Irish Water also warn that the burst water main in Fahan may cause supply disruptions to Fahan, Burnfoot, Inch, Crislaghkeel and the surrounding areas. Works in Fahan have an estimated completion time of 6pm today.Irish Water work to repair two water mains bursts in North Donegal was last modified: August 13th, 2017 by Elaine McCalligShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:FahanIrish WaterRameltonwater mains burstlast_img read more

Archer Fish Learns the Laws of Optics

first_imgImagine you’re a kid in a swimming pool, underwater with a squirt gun.  Lurking under the surface, you detect the wavy, distorted image of your big brother standing on the deck.  You sneak up, fire from below– and miss, because you didn’t know how to correct for refraction and distance through the air-water interface.  There’s a fish that would put you to shame; it squirts jets of water precisely at its prey, bugs crawling above water on leaves and stems.  Scientists have been intrigued for many years at the accuracy of the aptly named “archer fish”  (see 09/30/2002 headline, an article by Taylor Reeves on Apologetics Press and footage of the fish in action in the film Wonders of God’s Creation).    A new paper about the aquatic sharpshooters has been published in the Sept. 7 issue of Current Biology.1  The title says it all:  “Archer fish learn to compensate for complex optical distortions to determine the absolute size of their aerial prey.”  Researchers gave the fish target practice with colored disks.  A summary in EurekAlert explains the result: “Although naïve fish often selected disks that would be too large to be swallowed, all could eventually learn to judge absolute size with great precision; in doing so, they perfectly accounted for the complex optical situation posed by their underwater viewpoint” (emphasis added in all quotes).  What’s even more amazing, EurekAlert continues, is that this was not just a conditioned response.  The fish learned physics:In a series of experiments, the researchers showed that the fish do not learn this by remembering which combinations of spatial configurations and the corresponding images were rewarding in the past.  Rather, the fish extracted the underlying law that connects spatial configuration and apparent size.  This remarkable cognitive ability allows the fish to readily judge a target’s objective size from underwater views they have never encountered before.—and all this “in a world of distortion” caused by refraction and a moving surface.  The researchers, Schuster et al. in Germany, seemed pretty amazed, because “the deviations between real and apparent horizontal size are substantial” due to distortion.  But the fish took this all in stride:Moreover, the strong viewpoint dependency can even cause changes in the size relations among the disks.  For instance, if the fish makes its selection while close to a large disk, the apparent size of a more-distant small disk can be larger than that of the close large disk.  In principle, the fish could overcome these problems by scanning the targets and taking a view of each target from the same horizontal distance.  However, this is clearly not what the fish did; as soon as the objects were shown, the fish swam straight to their shooting position and fired.The original paper describes some of the clever experiments the researchers devised to test whether the fish were actually learning optical principles.  They wanted to know if the fish could learn to adjust for optical distortion, so they trained four fish to shoot at 6mm disks at various horizontal and vertical distances.  Successful target shooting within 10 seconds was rewarded with a fly.  After 4-8 weeks of training, the winners in the school of fish archery all passed: “All four fish mastered the task and selected the correct size at any height.”  This was a hard task for any fish, but the archer fish achieved “impressive precision,” able to hit a 1mm bull’s-eye from 800mm.    Additional experiments led the researchers to conclude that the fish did not just memorize the shots that worked.  They actually had to learn how to correct for distortion.  Think about all that is involved in this skill:In learning the objective size of their targets, the archer fish thus had not simply learned combinations that were rewarded in the past but went beyond to acquire a concept of objective size that they later could readily apply to the novel views.  This ability is remarkable in several respects.  First, the optical effects require rather precise knowledge of spatial configuration….  The question of how the fish’s visual system is able to provide this information is presently wide open.  When fish aim their shots, for which precise distance information is also required, monocular cues suffice and binocular distance cues are not required.  Whether stereo vision is also unnecessary for size constant vision cannot, however, be said at present.  Second, the fish apparently is able to combine such spatial knowledge in a yet-unknown way with apparent size (or apparent locomotion-induced image transformations) to deduce a concept of objective size.  Whatever sensory representation it uses, the fish evidently is able to form a concept of size that is tailored to the complex optics at the water-air interface.  Because this situation poses particularly rigorous requirements on the relation the animal must make between target localization and the apparent image, the fish is an attractive model to explore how animals learn to form concepts to bring order into their sensory experiences.Kind of makes you hope the little champs don’t get targeted by the optical targeting apparatus of a diving cormorant (see 05/24/2004 headline).1Schuster et al., “Archer Fish Learn to Compensate for Complex Optical Distortions to Determine the Absolute Size of Their Aerial Prey,” Current Biology, Volume 14, Issue 17, 7 September 2004, Pages 1565-1568, doi:10.1016/j.cub.2004.08.050.Stories like this are such wonderful relief from the incessant storytelling of Darwinists.  There was no mention of evolution in this article, and if there had been, it wouldn’t be worth a spit.  Here evolutionists cannot even find a clear beneficial mutation (see next headline), and they want us to believe this and thousands of other wonders of creation are the result of accidents?  Shoot.(Visited 17 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

The fight to stop teenage pregnancy

first_imgMusa Mkalipi Teen pregnancy numbers have decreased. But the figure is still too high. Women’s empowerment co-ordinator at DSR, Judy Silwana helps fight against alleviating teenage pregnancy.(Images: Shamin Chibba)MEDIA CONTACTS• Judy SilwanaDSR women’s empowerment co-ordinator+27 71 249 8389RELATED ARTICLES• Amarula project uplifts SAwomen• Born free to dream• Low-cost ultrasound for moms• Keep our youth drug-free The safe sex message may be getting across to teens, and there has been a decrease – although slight – in teen pregnancy numbers. But the figure is still too high.The rate dropped from 5% to 4.9% between girls aged 13 to 19 between 2010 and 2012, according to the General Household Survey 2012 from Statistics South Africa. There are a number of initiatives behind this drop, such as Lovelife, South Africa’s largest national Aids prevention, education and behaviour campaign for young people. One of its methods is the Born Free dialogues, at which parents and their children are encouraged to speak openly about sex.Thabang Chabalala, a groundbreaker or Lovelife peer motivator, points out that teenage pregnancy is the biggest challenge to young people in South Africa. One of the reasons for the high number of pregnant teens, he argues, is that parents do not talk to their children about sex.Lovelife works to empower parents and the youth to shape their behaviour. Pregnancy and becoming a parent is a life-changing event, and dialogues about sex are ways of teaching teens about the consequences of having unprotected sex, as well as about the responsibilities that come with parenthood. Lovelife was founded in 1999 with the hope of alleviating HIV/Aids, sexually transmitted infections, and teen pregnancies.To raise public awareness about teenage pregnancy, a global problem, World Population Day this year had a special focus on the topic. The day is an annual event, held on 11 July to focus on global population issues. According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), teenage pregnancy is not just a health issue; it is also a development issue. Dedicating time and attention to education, health and the well-being of young girls will ensure a positive change in the future.In South Africa, World Population Day was observed at North West University, where Deputy Minister of Social Development Bongi Maria Ntuli said: “We are going to make recommendations on interventions and present them before Cabinet to reduce the levels of adolescent pregnancies in South Africa.” Teenage TatasAnother initiative, Department of Social Responsibility (DSR) in Kei Road, Eastern Cape, runs a number of programmes for social and economic upliftment in the depressed province. Affiliated to the Anglican Church, it deals with direct community development and supports other churches and NGOs that do similar work. One of its programmes, Teenage Tatas, works with young men who are fathers or are about to become fathers – tata is the Xhosa word for “father”. On the programme, young men are taught how to become young yet decent and admirable fathers.Support groups are formed through Teenage Tatas, at which these young teenage fathers are able to share their experiences, trials and tribulations, as well as solutions. They are also given advice on parenting. Judy Silwana, the women’s empowerment co-ordinator at DSR, says a number of these young fathers are rejected by the families of the women they have impregnated because of the custom of intlawulo. Intlawulo is a sum of money that must be paid to the family of a woman who becomes pregnant out of wedlock. The money is paid by the father of the child.Because of such cultural beliefs, these young men are often side-lined. Counselling is needed to build efficient and sustainable relationships between the families. Those who sign up for the programme are generally young men who want to be responsible fathers and active in the lives of their children.At the workshops and programmes, the young men have the opportunity to share their feelings, goals and dreams. “We go to these workshops to try to find remedies that can be used to keep peace between families as a way of benefitting everyone, including the babies to come,” said Judy.The problem of teen pregnancy, though, is bigger than simply the parents and the child. The world’s population is skyrocketing, already estimated at 7.1 billion people, which is simply too many for the planet to sustain. In South Africa, the statistics are alarming: on average, two to three girls fall pregnant in a typical school with 1 200 to 1 400 pupils, and one in three young women has a baby by the age of 20, according to the Health Systems Trust, an organisation that supports the transformation of the health system in a democratic South Africa.According to the Mail and Guardian weekly newspaper, 40% of all pregnancies in the country are girls younger than the age of 19. It cites reasons for this ranging from unavailable contraceptives, to lack of sex education at school and home. Teenage pregnancies are also associated with a number of other factors, namely socio-economic issues, rape as well as the sugar daddy phenomenon, in which younger women or girls date older men for financial benefits. According to City Press, a weekly newspaper, the sugar daddy phenomenon is one of the leading reasons for the high teenage pregnancy rates specifically in KwaZulu-Natal.Peer pressure also plays a major role, as sex is often seen as something that the cool kids do. But it is not the only problem. Factors Associated with Teenage Pregnancy, a study conducted by the Limpopo provincial government, found that family pressure was a major contributing factor to teenage pregnancies, with 16.3% of teens saying that they experienced pressure from family to fall pregnant. South Africa also has high levels of poverty and unemployment, and teen mothers often bear the brunt of this and are unable to fend for their young.Teen pregnancies are also prevalent in fellow Brics member India, where there is a population of 300 million people below the age of 25. In West Bengal state, 14% of births are to teenage girls between the ages of 15 and 19, says the family planning division of the Union Health Ministry. However, there are also a high number of girls who are married before they turn 18. OptionsIn South Africa, people under the age of 18 are considered minors and have limited rights when it comes to decision making. However, under the Children’s Act of 2005, minors are able to make some decisions without the permission of their legal guardians. From the age of 12, they may get access to contraceptives and no person may refuse to sell them condoms.Contraceptives are freely available for all people over the age of 12 at clinics and hospitals. Abortion was legalised in in 1996 under the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1996. Terminations are performed for free at government hospitals and clinics in the first three months of pregnancy. If a woman or girl is between 13 and 20 weeks pregnant, an abortion may only be performed under specific circumstances: “If a medical practitioner, after consultation with the pregnant woman, is of the opinion that (i) the continued pregnancy would pose a risk of injury to the woman’s physical or mental health; or (ii) there exists a substantial risk that the foetus would suffer from a severe physical or mental abnormality; or (iii) the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest; or (iv) the continued pregnancy would significantly affect the social or economic circumstances of the woman.”After the 20th week, a termination is only legally permitted if a medical practitioner, after consultation with another medical practitioner or a registered midwife, is of the opinion that the continued pregnancy (i) would endanger the woman’s life; or (ii) would result in a severe malformation of the foetus; or (iii) would pose a risk of injury to the foetus.last_img read more