Tejus Home protects, nurtures and empowers abused, pregnant teenagers.
Over many years working with children, Dil Se has come across too many abused, pregnant teenagers. These girls not only faced the stigma and rejection of their families and communities but they had no place they could go to which would care for them suitably. Dil Se felt called to action and Tejus Home opened in November 2012. The home’s caring environment provides the girls a safe, nurturing place in which to liven during one of the most difficult times of their lives.
Thanks to Birth For Change, the home offers girls the possibility of a healthy pregnancy, a natural delivery and the time to repair their bodies and minds following an often traumatic experience of abuse. The girls receive respectful maternity care, with full explanations of the development of their pregnancy and a supervised healthy diet. The girls are shown the best exercises to help them through labour and the build up to a natural delivery which, apart from empowering the girls via their active participation, leaves no external scar.
The counselling support provided enables the girls to deal with the abuse that they faced and not just survive but thrive. We employ staff who are sensitive to the girls’ situations, feelings and teenage behaviour in general.
We treat the girls respectfully, helping them with their choices regarding pregnancy, their baby’s future and their own, especially with regards to their future schooling, accommodation and post-Tejus Home life in general. In other types of homes, these were choices that they were generally not given.
Tejus Home also follows up on the legal action which has been taken against the abuser. Every case has an FIR filed and the abusers are arrested. However, they are often allowed out on bail until the actual court case. Unfortunately, this can take a very long time, even though the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act states that cases should be over within a year of having been filed. In most cases, the girls have already made their statements, but occasionally we have to accompany them in front of the Magistrate in their hometown.
When a pregnant girl is referred to us, we meet her with acceptance: she may feel angry and ashamed, she may have been shunned by her family and rejected by her community; we are often the first compassionate contact she encounters. We help her to come to terms with her situation and, from there, to understand her options.
Between November 2012 and January 2017, we took care of 52 children: 26 girls and their babies.
Five of the girls decided to keep their babies, with the support of their families. The other babies were given up for adoption.
• the teenage mothers arriving at Tejus Home were 15.5 years old
• the teenage mothers arriving at Tejus Home after 27.1 weeks of gestation
• the girls weighed 48.75 kg when they arrived at Tejus Home
• the girls weighted 53.45 kg when they left Tejus Home
• the teenage girls’ HB at their first checkup was 10.47 gm/dl
• the young mothers went home with an HB level of 11.07 gm/dl.
• the girls went into labour at 38.6 weeks of gestation
• the girls were in labour for 3 hours 27 minutes
• 65% of the girls who came to Tejus Home pregnant had natural deliveries
• the weight of the babies born to Tejus Home girls was 2.79 kg
• the duration of stay of the girls at Tejus Home was 5 mths 14 days
While the vignettes are based on real life incidents, all the names and personal details have been changed to protect the identity of the girls.