Malawi: 80 Karonga Married Girls Rescued, Taken to School

The Center for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) through Karonga Gender Equality and Woman Empowerment (KAGEWE) has withdrawn 80 young girls from marriages and re-enrolled them to school in Karonga the northern district of the country.

The exercise has been done in two Traditional Authorities (TAs) only which include Mwirang’ombe and Wasambo in a period of 11 months.

Speaking during the project review meeting, the project coordinator Stain Katuli said this follows implementation and applications of various interventions to end child marriages.

“From January to November 2015, the organization has managed to terminate 80 teenage marriages in two traditional authorities only and as I am talking they are back to school,” said Katuli.

He said “these are young girls who were forced to go into marriages especially because of poverty and some harmful cultural practices and all of them were at secondary level.”

According to Katuli, some of the interventions used include “offering financial support such as fees, and school materials as well as involving the mother groups to encourage them.”

In his remarks, CHRR national coordinator of the project Mankhumbo Munthali worried with the number of girls who are now going back to their marriages due to lack of financial support.

“It is really painful that our effort of hooking girls from marriages back to school turns into helpless. This is because most of them are ending up going back into marriages as they are lacking financial support,” disclosed Munthali.

Munthali further said “as CHRR we have managed to financially support 30 girls out of 80 however, the ending of the project this month gives doubts to whether those we have been supporting will finish with their education.”

While commending the stakeholders’ commitment toward the support to the project, Munthali asked for the project extension in order to let the already hooked girls continue their education apart from appealing for the bursary.

Karonga Gender Equality and Women Empowerment (KAGEWE) is a Government project which is implemented by CHRR in Karonga district with financial support from European Union (EU).

SOURCE: Nyasa Times