Julia Gillard to Launch Charity
Tuesday, 13th October 2015 at 11:39 am
Former prime minister Julia Gillard will launch a new national charity that will support pregnant teenagers.
Gillard has signed on as ambassador for the Brave Foundation, a charity that aims to provide “education, support and resources for teenage and unplanned pregnancy”.
Australia’s first female PM will launch the charity nationally on Friday 13 November at the Melbourne Town Hall.
In Australia in 2012, 25,000 teenage pregnancies were recorded. This figure is estimated from rates of live births, deaths and induced abortions.
Gillard said she signed on to be an ambassador so she could help to support teenagers facing challenges.
“A teenager who becomes pregnant must have all the information and help she needs to make choices about her future,” Gillard said.
“A young woman and her family needs to know that if she chooses to have and raise her child, there is a way to find support and educational opportunities that will enhance both her and the baby's health and well-being.”
In 2013, Gillard, then prime minister, apologised to the victims of the hundreds of thousands of forced adoptions which occurred in Australia from the 1950s to the 1970s.
In 2014 it was announced that she would be Chair of the Board of Directors of the Global Partnership for Education. She then joined Michelle Obama’s Let Girls Learn Initiative.
In December 2014 Gillard joined the board of mental health organisation, beyondblue.
Gillard said the Brave Foundation would provide essential education, support and resources for girls affected by teenage and unplanned pregnancy.
“Research shows us that when a pregnant teenager engages with support and education, the generational risk of teenage pregnancy is reduced dramatically,” she said.
CEO and Founding Director of the Brave Foundation, Bernadette Black, said she unexpectedly fell pregnant at 16 and experienced the stigma associated with a teenage pregnancy and the lack of support and education.
“Throughout my pregnancy, so many people looked at me critically and judgmentally and made me think that I should be embarrassed and ashamed,” Black said.
“I desperately searched for support and inspiration from others who had been in my situation but found none.”
Black said it was crucial that children knew they were valued.
“If children have that belief in themselves then it doesn’t matter what the world throws at them because they’ll be able to handle it. So I wrote the book to show others that through perseverance and determination you can overcome life’s challenges and fulfil your dreams,” she said.
“It is the intention and purpose of Brave Foundation to provide the support and education to teenagers prior to teenage pregnancy. However, if an unplanned pregnancy does occur Brave Foundation is there for support and guidance. Brave Foundation’s mission is to build a village of acceptance and support around every person facing teenage pregnancy and parenthood so they have the opportunity, with time, to grow a happy, healthy, skilled family, with healthy children.”
Former Premier of Tasmania, David Bartlett, is Chair of the Brave Foundation and also has a personal connection to teenage pregnancy.
He was born in 1968 to a teenage mother and was given up for adoption. His then 16-year-old mother and his grandmother travelled from Launceston to Hobart for his birth and it was another 20 years before the three met again.
"My admiration for both of them is boundless really for what they dealt with and worked through," Bartlett said.
The Brave Foundation said it will support a coordinated national approach to improved outcomes and support for pregnant young people and young parents, reduced teenage pregnancy and the teenage birth-rates and a change to societal attitudes to the stigma attached to teenage pregnancy.
The Foundation’s website will go live in late October but a preview website can be viewed here.