New life and New Possibilities
By Susan Blaikie, Wellington City Missioner, who brings a story of hope for Easter….
‘I want my son to be proud of me’
Easter is coming up, and part of the Easter story is God’s passionate concern for the relief of our suffering. It’s a story of extraordinary and unexpected compassion, death, resurrection, new life and new possibilities. The Wellington City Mission is founded on the care, compassion and hope founded in the Easter Story; it underpins our solidarity with the last, the littlest and the least.
It’s in the story and spirit of Easter that I interviewed Azjah – one of our students in our 4Tune programme. It’s a programme designed to help youth between the age of sixteen to nineteen transition into adulthood and work.
Azjah is a tall and striking woman, and has a surprising aura of tranquil wisdom about her; all at the grand age of 17. Azjah’s Dad is in prison and her mother lives in Hamilton.
Azjah lives with her partner and partner’s family in Wellington and they have a three month old baby boy. She also lives with and cares for her younger brother, 15, who also attends Mission for Youth.
Azjah became pregnant at sixteen and endured ‘judgement from her mother and best friend…that she had ruined her life.’ For Azjah however it’s more the opposite.
With amazing support from her partner who works long hours as an apprentice-builder, Azjah’s advice is ‘don’t think of having a baby so young as something that will ruin your life… you can still do what you want, but you’ll have to work harder for it.’ With the commitments of becoming a young mother, Azjah has experienced more distance with her friends but views it ‘as a necessary sacrifice in becoming a mother.’
There is an indefatigable determination to Azjah; she is committed to completing her NCEA 1 and 2, and obtaining early childhood qualifications no matter what the barriers.
What does Azjah hope for? ‘I want my son to be proud of me… I don’t want to be sitting at home all day; I want to get a full time job by the time he’s four…I also want to take my son to Fiji one day so he can experience a different life and appreciate what he’s got here in New Zealand.’
I asked Azjah what advice she might offer to people in a similar boat to her; ‘You need to make sure you’ve got solid support before becoming a teen mother; especially a partner who can support you. Take advice and don’t be scared to talk to people when you’re upset or down.’