UniMums was inspired by Tess’ experience as a young mother who was determined to study at university. With many PNG women giving birth to their first child in their teenage years, childrearing exists as one of the greatest barriers to education for young women. Tess was fortunate enough to have sufficient support to enable her to continue her studies after giving birth to her son; however many girls from her class were not as fortunate.
Tess’ Community Kickstarter Grant is supporting her to implement ‘Uni Mums’ in her university community, where young mothers are supported by the UniMums network to continue their tertiary education through practical support mechanisms. UniMums will run the “BUMP Mentoring Program”, developed by the Raise Foundation, where Tess undertook her training as part of her exchange visit to Australia. The BUMP program has been converted to be appropriate for the PNG context and will help young mums regain confidence in themselves and the motivation they need to successfully complete their university studies and obtain their degrees. The program includes mentoring, smart goal setting and career pathway advice whilst dealing with alcohol and other drugs and emotional, mental and physical health and wellbeing.
This is a practical and responsive program that has the potential to alleviate some of the greatest barriers to education for young PNG mothers.