Ms Georgia Dyer's excellent example of fortitude

Ms Georgia Dyer's excellent example of fortitude

Friday, January 17, 2020

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Ms Georgia Dyer's teenage experience is not unique. Indeed, there are a quite a number of young people who, unfortunately, engage in sexual activity early and become parents.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) tells us in its 2017 report on Jamaica that, while there was a decline in the adolescent fertility rate over the five years prior to the report, the rate at the time of filing the brief was 72/1,000.

That, the UNFPA determined, was still fairly high.

The agency also said it found alarming the fact that teenagers account for 18 per cent of all births in Jamaica.

That teen mothers often drop out of school and receive little support from the fathers in bringing up their children is not a secret. In fact, it is one of the more depressing problems facing the affected girls, their families, and the country in general.

The upshot, as the UNFPA so correctly noted, is that it has a “double negative effect — on the young mother, who has her opportunities for development truncated; and on the child, who will not receive the benefits that a better-equipped mother could provide in terms of parenting”.

Ms Dyer, as was reported in this newspaper on Tuesday, became pregnant and dropped out of high school at age 16. We can't begin to imagine how difficult life must have been for her at the time, even as she went on to start a family, giving birth to two more daughters.

But Ms Dyer, who is employed as a caregiver to a 96-year-old woman, has demonstrated to us that challenges can be overcome with a fixity of purpose. She never stopped believing that she could achieve academically, even as she made the sacrifice to see her daughters through school.

Today, at age 58, she has certificates in five subjects in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate examinations, City and Guilds certifications, and five subjects in the Jamaica School Certificate exams.

Ms Dyer speaks highly of the support she received from her three daughters, as well as her employers, which enabled her to resume her secondary education at the Jamaica Foundation for Lifelong Learning that has been doing an excellent job providing Jamaicans with educational skills from basic literacy to the secondary level.

Now, Ms Dyer has expressed an interest in pursuing a course in psychology. That, we believe, is not merely a desire to satisfy her curiosity, but rather a demonstration of her determination to achieve her fullest potential.

Ms Dyer, therefore, is a perfect example of what is possible when people are prepared to look beyond their personal circumstances and act in their best interest, instead of wallowing in self-pity.

There are a number of institutions, groups and agencies in this country that could consider engaging Ms Dyer in an effort to motivate other Jamaicans who are intellectually lethargic and who seek to exist on benevolence, blaming the State and everyone else except themselves for their circumstances and station in life.

Ms Dyer's fortitude is to be emulated and celebrated in much the same way as her achievements, mind and attitude. We wish her all that's good for the future.


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