There is no tomorrow for me': Rwanda's teen mothers – in pictures.

Young unmarried mothers are often forced to live in poverty, unable to find work and shunned by their families and communities.

Florence Nyiramahirwe, 19, with her son Brian, three, in Mwurire
‘I became pregnant when I was 15 in a rush of passion with my boyfriend. I then thought about the fate of my life. I was not prepared for parenting, I lost hope. I told my boyfriend – he said he would support me, but soon after that he vanished. I returned to my studies with the support of Hope for Rwanda, a local charity that has taught me to be a strong woman, and built my confidence’


Fanette Umuhoza, 17, with her two-month-old baby, Beyoncé, in Mwutire
Fanette is supported by her grandmother and the child’s father provides some money. She hopes that some day she will have a job and earn money so she can move in with her boyfriend


Lucie Izabayo, 18, with Kevin, 21 months
‘As a child we lived in poverty, forcing me at the age of 13 to work as a domestic [servant]. I became pregnant with a boy who also worked there. When I learned of the pregnancy I was very anxious and in fear as I knew I was going to get fired and become homeless. As an unemployed single mum I am now contemplating becoming a sex worker to support my son’


Beatha Nikuzwe, 19, with daughter Divine, two, in Kinyinya
‘I was irresponsible and became pregnant at 16, and was forced to leave school. The father told me to abort. I didn’t. My dream to study medicine evaporated. I work as a domestic to survive. When I was young I had very high hopes of who I would be, now I face the harsh reality of motherhood and the responsibilities of raising a child. In my counselling I have learned how to manage my circumstances and live positively rather than wallowing in self-pity’


Grace Uwamhoro and baby Brighton, in Bugesera
Grace and her child live in a tiny house they share with her grandmother. Grace was raped but is harshly viewed by her grandmother, who has accused her of ‘allowing’ the attack to happen. Such judgments are not uncommon: many families challenge daughters’ accounts of rape, suggesting they are to blame. Rape is rarely reported to the police but, when a family does have the courage to come forward, the perpetrator faces 10 to 25 years in jail once apprehended if the girl is a minor


Florette Ishimwe, 19, mother of La Vie, two, Mwutire
‘I met my boyfriend in church, we got close and ended up making love. It was spontaneous. I missed my period and suspected I was pregnant. At the clinic, they confirmed my status. I thought: ‘I only met this guy a few weeks ago and now I find myself pregnant. I didn’t even know who he is. How could I have been so stupid?’ After a few weeks, when I told him, he asked me to marry him. I said a big no, as I thought it was too early. We broke up and I haven’t seen him since’


Janet Mutumwinka, 18, mother of Daphine aged four weeks, Shyara
‘There will be no tomorrow for me, there is only today if I survive.’ Janet Mutumwinka, 18, is in despair. With her four-week-old baby Daphine strapped to her back, she tends to a cooking fire for her grandmother. She is rarely given food and is treated like a slave. Mutumwinka met a man in her remote village who promised her he would help her have a better life and give her a home. Once she became pregnant, he refused to take responsibility, telling her it could be anyone’s child. This left her vulnerable to gossipmongers


Olive Uningabire 20, with daughter Giselle, two, Kacyiru
‘I was finishing my last year in school and became pregnant. I was horrified, I wanted to abort, as I would be forced to leave school. My future would be dim. After I could not raise the fees for abortion, I felt my only option was to commit suicide. My friend told my mother of my situation and she said that since I sinned once by getting pregnant I should not sin again. After the baby was born I initially felt a deep sense of loneliness, but as I fell into my role I also learned to be responsible and strong’





The Guardian