Balancing Motherhood and Education: Esther’s Determination to Succeed

The first maternity center in Kibera, CFK Africa’s Tabitha Maternity Home provides a variety of health care services to pregnant women, newborns, infants, and young children. 

As students were sitting for their Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examinations at the end of 2022, Esther Askoye, a student at the neighboring Olympic High School in Kibera, delivered a healthy baby girl at CFK Africa’s Tabitha Maternity Home. Just hours later, she took her national Agriculture examination in the same clinic. 

“I was brought to the facility by my mother and sister because I was in labor. It was the scariest time of my life, and I felt ashamed and unsure of my future,” said Esther. Like CFK Africa’s Tabitha Medical Clinic, the maternity home is named after the late CFK Africa co-founder and Kiberan nurse, Tabitha Atieno Festo, who established the organization’s first clinic with only $26 and a dream of providing health care to women and children in Kibera. 

Delivering Hope

After successfully delivering her baby, Esther needed to take her qualifying national exam, which is given on a strict schedule. The test results are a main factor in determining students’ higher education opportunities and future careers.

“The medics at the facility made me feel safe and unashamed of my situation” she said. “They also assured me that they would take care of my beautiful daughter as I did the exam. I felt so supported and managed to do the exam the same way I would have done it in a classroom setting because my mind was at peace.” 

Teen pregnancy and early motherhood often disrupt formal education, causing girls to drop out of school and reducing their employment and lifetime earning potential. CFK Africa champions the importance of education for adolescent girls during pregnancy and after delivery. 

A smiling Esther and her daughter (Photo credit: CFK Africa).
Esther, hard at work on her exams, after delivery at the Tabitha Maternity Home (Photo credit: CFK Africa).

Bridging Gaps in Maternal Healthcare

“Tabitha Maternity Home is a youth-friendly facility, helping residents of Kibera at the most crucial time of their lives, and improving their long-term health,” said Eddah Ogogo, CFK Africa’s Program Coordinator for Public Health.  

Operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the maternity home has delivered over 1,000 babies since opening in 2019 and now averages 60 deliveries per month. To date, the facility has recorded zero maternal deaths, an achievement in Kenya where the maternal mortality rate is 342/100,000 per year. To maximize accessibility, the facility is centrally located and operates one of the few free ambulances in Kibera to facilitate emergency transportation.  

“Pre-natal, newborn and infant care are some of the most cost-effective health care solutions available,” concluded Ogogo. “Our medics are trained to offer psychosocial care as well for cases like Esther’s making us the facility of choice for many in Kibera and beyond.”

Thanks to her determination, the future is bright for Esther – and her daughter.

Make a gift to support CFK Africa’s work to provide holistic maternal health services for adolescent mothers like Esther.

Share on social