There is no doubt that early-aged pregnancy has always been a complicated ethic issue, but there is a lack of films where this problem is raised. The Bulgarian Family Planning Association, an organization focused on sex education and health,  cooperated with Irena Daskalova, the director, to launch a short film that sheds some light on the real life of young mothers.

 

Making a research

The team knew that a key to successful documentary. is to carry out a challenging research. According to the country’s statistics, approximately 5000 girls in Bulgaria gave birth to their children between 13 and 18 years old. What does it mean for society in general? Unfortunately, these girls are less likely to enter the university and start the career: poverty, illiteracy and unemployment are not easy things to struggle with. Within the framework of the research, 5 women were interviewed, and some of them even uncovered their experience of  domestic violence in relationships. If we take a closer look on the situation, we’ll found out that children of such families are most probable to repeat their mother’s path. Isn’t it a closed loop of creating a ground for underprivileged society? By supporting this film, the BFPA is trying to increase people’s awareness and provoke the discussion in particular at Bulgarian media.

“Who are those mothers” won an award of the 5th Roma Life-Central European Documentary Festival in March 2012. The director launched another documentary in 2010 that gained a lot of attention and excellent reviews from critics – “Night On The City”.

 

Different projects – same message

The Bulgarian film reminded me of Ukrainian series “Pregnant at 16”,  where girls and their parents share their stories of upbringing children and coping with  financial difficulties. Though this project considered to be immoral or just disrespectful by many viewers, it represents the issue to speak about with teenagers. An absence of sexual enlightenment at schools can cause unplanned pregnancy that will ruin girl’s future. In my opinion, it is a mistake of both education system and parents. It may sounds strange for us, but many parents are too conservative to explain such vitally important information to their daughters; they are puzzled with what they should start from, partly because in their childhood it wasn’t a topic for home discussion.

 

“I got married when I was 16. They stole me from home to take me to Varna. I spent there 7 and a half years.(….)I have one daughter.”, – reports one of “Who are those mothers” heroines.

“Sofia is 46. She has 3 children and 9 grandchildren. Both her daughters married when they were only 16. They finished grade 8 at school and didn’t want to go any further. And also there was nobody to remind them that they should continue. The boys were already after them; they were pretty girls and the boys wouldn’t let them go. They came to ask their hands.(….) And we were afraid that they might get into some other trouble. Our people look for virginity. The girls rarely finish school.”, – that’s a part of a story told by another woman.

Finally, teenage pregnancy influences on total economic growth: the state looses valuable human resources  and, therefore, labor force as well. Even if percentage isn’t dramatically high  in Bulgaria, it seems to be a lot more significant for developing countries. So, it’s high time for governments to ameliorate social policy and  promote standarts of living.

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