The plight of unwed mothers : a critical study of the social and spiritual repercussions for unwed mothers with reference to Makorora Lutheran Parish in the Tanga District of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania North-Eastern Diocese (ELCT-NED).
Premarital pregnancies resulting in unwed mothers is a problem within the church and in society. My hypothesis is that this plight of unwed mothers is not the sole responsibility of the girls but rather the result of lack of education of the church and the society. Therefore the main objectives of the research is to investigate. Firstly, to highlight the plight which unwed mothers receive from the Church and Society. Secondly, to conscientize the Church and the society as to the severity of the problem and its future implications. Thirdly, to challenge the Church not only to rethink its present stand as regards discipline, but to seek ways and means to alleviate the problem of teenage pregnancies. Fourthly, to sensitise all involved in the problem. An overview of literature and interviews was used to arrive at a broader appreciation of the root causes of being unwed mother. In depth interview with a small sample of unwed mothers were interviewed in order to document individual case studies. Church leaders, parents and other Youths were also interviewed. The research has found out that there are various factors that lead young women to bear children out of wedlock. Usually, those young Unwed mothers face severe consequences which impact negatively on themselves, their families, their children and the Church. To heal their painful experiences, unwed mother is last resort is to seek relief from the Church. The current Church practice is to put these unwed mothers under Church discipline. This research challenges the Church attitude and instead recommend several practical coping strategies to assist the unwed mothers and to alleviate the problem. These strategies include pastoral counselling and care, educational activities such as organisation of educational seminars and workshops and the publication of youth magazines in order to educate young people and society on his matter.
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