This Year’s International Day of the Girl is dedicated to focusing on ending child marriage. Child marriage robs girls around the world of their childhood, disrupts their education, limits their life opportunities, increases the risk of becoming a victim of violence and abuse and jeopardises their health.
Globally girls are on a daily basis entered into marriage before the age of 15, leaving them vulnerable and defenseless to the high risks of early and unwanted pregnancies, which poses life-threatening risks for the girls. It has been found that in less economically developed countries (LEDC’s) of the world, girls between the ages of 15 and 20 are more susceptible to experiencing pregnancy related complications which is causing the increased death of girls in this age group.
Therefore by aiding in the cause to prevent child marriage we will help in protecting girls’ rights and help reduce the risks of violence, early pregnancy, HIV infection, and maternal death and disability, as well as many other life threatening aspects they may face.
At Seed of Hope, girls who are disadvantaged and vulnerable to the snares of child marriage are given hope for a better future. They are provided with two years of free vocational, business and life skills, which allows them to stay in school and avoid being married off early. They are provided with skills that increase their confidence and perception of life, readying them for challenges they may face in the future. They are able build a foundation for a better future for themselves and their families, based on more valuable decisions and commitments that they enter into.
We asked some of our students to share their thoughts on child marriage. Here’s what they had to say.
“Early marriage for young girls causes them to commit suicide. As young girls we should try to keep ourselves away from harmful things which may bring pain and sorrow to our hearts. As a student at Seed of Hope I have escaped many things which could have been harmful to my life. I have learned how to control myself and would advise young girls to take responsibility for their lives. Seed of Hope is a secure place, where a true seed is planted in young teenage girls. A seed that will never die.”
“Early marriage can lead to drug abuse or sexual abuse. This may be because your husband is not providing or not catering for your needs, so you decide to use drugs or have sex to get money to buy food, clothes, and other human needs. Early marriage can lead to unwanted pregnancies. That’s why when you take a walk in slum areas you will find many children are dumped in latrines or sewage because the mother can not afford to raise the child. Seed of Hope has provided me with a place to call home and shown me that mo matter how hard life is you can get through it.”
“Before I joined Seed of Hope I was hopeless and was planning to get married. Early marriage means small girls are misused in society and some die from abortion, others are homeless. Seed of Hope has helped create a better plan for the future.”
“As a young teenage girl I can stand by saying that early marriage is very dangerous, because they lead to early motherhood and others get miscarriages because their wombs are very weak to carry the baby. Others are forced by their parents, just for the money and by the end of the day the girl is the one in trouble because the man beats her without mercy. Seed of Hope has helped me know I can harvest what I plant, with the help of the almighty Seed of Hope staff.”