Olive Learns to Love Herself

Olivia is the eldest daughter in her family of five. Nicknamed Olive, she was always a curious and smart child, leading the charge of her younger siblings. Although each sibling has different fathers, they always loved each other as family. Life at times could be chaotic, but they always managed to overcome. They found solace in one another, and Olive was seen as a role model for her younger siblings.

That is until she became pregnant at an early age. Her mother, Laurence, was disappointed that Olive had to leave her studies behind as she devoted her attention to raising a child, and she was worried about the precedent this set for her other children.

Olive and Laurence began to fight often. It was clear that Olive was hurt and scared, taking out her frustration on her mother. At this sensitive developmental time, she was socially isolated, and with only her mother by her side, Laurence was an easy target for her teen daughter’s troubles.

What Olive didn’t understand was how her mother was affected just as deeply. She saw her daughter’s pregnancy and thought of the hard times she encountered as a single mother. Laurence struggled to support her children; she sometimes didn’t have enough money to feed them, nevertheless cover school fees. She was saddened that she couldn’t protect her daughter from the same hardships. In some ways, she interpreted her daughter’s pregnancy as a personal failing.

Thus, the pair fought. Olive felt more and more alone, and her mother felt increasingly distressed and heartbroken.

That is until the Komera selected Olive to take part in their Yoga for Young Mothers pilot program alongside 74 other teen mothers in the community. The program aims to endow young moms with the skills, knowledge and power necessary to reintegrate into society and build a bright future.

Olive truly feels that the Komera program has changed her life around. She shared,

“Now we are happy because of Komera program which enabled us to have self-confidence, accept ourselves, and seek out our parents’ forgiveness. My relationship with my mother changed. She is very supportive to me and my child now.”

As part of the program, Olive takes part in two weekly meetings: one as a group of 75 led by Komera nurse Josephine, and one smaller break out session for 15 girls to meet more intimately with others in their village and with a mentor. In each session, yoga is used as a tool to help these young moms reclaim their identity and regain ownership over their lives. By creating a larger community, the young women learn they are not alone in the challenges they face. Then in the smaller group break outs, they are able to foster meaningful connections with their peers and mentor as well as more practice the life skills taught in the larger sessions. The curriculum includes lessons on goal setting, self-confidence building, and how to run a business. Soon the participants will launch their own businesses!

Through the gentle practice of yoga, Olive has learned more about her body and how to harness her inner strength.

“I am so grateful for the Komera program and yoga. It is a good time for us to be happy, learn to love ourselves, and focus to work for a better future.”

Laurence is also thrilled to see her daughter flourishing again. With increased self awareness, the pair have been able to work through their tension and begin to support each other again. Olive is no longer lashing out at her mother, and Laurence loves her daughter for who she is. Though there are still challenges ahead, they will face them together as a strong mother- daughter team.

Three Generations: Olive and her baby with Olive’s mother, Laurence.

Three Generations: Olive and her baby with Olive’s mother, Laurence.