In order to promote women’s empowerment and to generate awareness of the importance of gender equality, the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Windhoek celebrates women and their accomplishments each Wednesday.
For this week’s #WCW #WednesdayCelebrateWomen, UNIC Windhoek celebrates Natalie Kamati, a dedicated student who has embraced being a teenage mother.
Check out Natalie’s interview with UNIC Windhoek! Read along as she talks about how she has grown from the challenges she has faced as a teenage mother, her career goals and women’s empowerment.
1.) Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am a normal teenager currently in high school and aspire to pursue a career once I finish school. I regard myself as easy going however as most teens I am guilty of sometimes thinking I know all answers. Life has taught me to be humble and being the only girl among boys has taught me to be assertive. I am often told I have a big heart, and I am always willing to help.
2.) What are your thoughts on women’s empowerment, and why it is important?
I have been blessed to be in a family with very strong women. My grandmother raised 6 children by herself and all her children managed to get an education. Additionally, I was raised by my mother.
The women in my family taught me the importance of working hard and standing on your own two feet. Especially in Namibia where passion killings are constantly on the rise. I think it is important to teach girls to work hard and not rely on sugar daddies making them vulnerable to passion killings. It is important we empower our fellow women in accordance with the Harambee Prosperity Plan.
3.) Could you tell us about your experience being a teenage mother? Have you faced any challenges? What has been the best part of being a mother?
It was by far one of the hardest challenges I had to face in life. Coming from a strong Christian family emotions range from shame to excitement and regret. However my son has been such a blessing. Being a teenager with no financial means or the maturity to raise my son I have to thank my parents for being a strong support system and being there every step of the way. My son is motivating me to work harder, finish school and pursue a college degree in order to give him a better life. I constantly remind myself that no matter what people say and fingers pointed at me, he is my silver lining and not my end or downfall. Life of a teenage mother is filled with constant challenges but I am forever grateful for my Heavenly Father for strengthening me through the challenges and giving me a very supportive family.
4.) How do you balance between being a young mom and attending school?
I would be the first to admit that finding the right balance is a daily challenge. I have support from my mother. She encourages me to work hard at school so that I have a shot at a great future. My son stays with a nanny during school hours and after hours I spend time with him. My mom usually takes care of him in the evening to give me a chance to do homework or study for exams. It is a constant juggling act especially when he is sick.
5.) After you finish with secondary school, what do you plan to do next?
As a teenage mother, having my son has encouraged me to work harder in order for me to provide him with a better future. I foresee a career as a social worker or a psychologist in order to help teenage girls and the elderly.
6.) What is your advice to teenage mothers?
I know as a teenage mother we always think we know and have all the answers. I want to encourage all the young people to listen to your parents and value their advice. I pray to God that pregnancy does not happen to other young girls, for those that did, I pray that they get the love and support that I got from my family. Our parents’ advice is best no matter the challenges, it will be hard, but we will make it. Remember you are the creator of your own destiny our first lady is a perfect example.
7.) Who is your mentor/role model and why?
My role model is my mother. Seeing her work really hard and getting up every day just to make sure her children are happy and have what they need, makes me proud to have her as my mother and she inspires me to want to do many great things. May I add that she’s still pursuing her studies at her age (just completed her Honours degree). Now that is the type of encouragement a teenage mother needs.
8.) What is your wish for young girls in Namibia?
Namibia as a democratic country provide us with many opportunities which we can pursue for our own success as the sky is the limit. I want to encourage young girls not to get encouraged by temporary flashy stuff but to empower ourselves to become strong woman. We hear about passion killing and gender based violence, we should stand strong and soar in order to contribute to woman empowerment in the country. Their circumstances should not compel them into becoming what they are not destined to be, they can make it if they want to, BUT, there are no short cuts in this life, work hard and always put God first. Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”