Throughout the world, marriage is regarded as a moment of celebration and a milestone in adult life. Sadly for Marita’s marriage there was no room for celebration because a marriage partner was imposed on her. Early marriage remains a major barrier to girl education in Kasungu. Marita Nyasulu, a 14 year old girl from Chitunda village in Kasungu dropped out of school while in Standard STD 5 and married a 28 year old man {name withheld} because of poverty.

Marita had no choice on the timing of her marriage and the partner. After marrying to this man, Marita started experiencing difficult times in form of domestic violence and gender based violence perpetrated by her husband.

A school management committee at Chitunda primary school where Marita was learning went to visit Marita at her home after hearing reports that she was being abused by her husband. The committee members counseled her on the negative consequences of early marriages and advised her to end the marriage and return to school. Marita ended the marriage and went back to her mother’s home and started going to school. However due to poverty as the household was female headed, Marita lacked basic necessities such as clothes and food. Due to this challenge Marita agreed with her mother to marry again with another man hopping that the marriage might help them in relieving financial constraints. Once again Marita started experiencing domestic violence and Gender Based Violence perpetrated by her new husband and it affected her greatly. This was not surprising because according to studies, as young girls are often married to men who are much older than themselves, the age difference tend to reinforce the powerlessness of the girl. This made Marita to go back and stay with her mother at home again.

While at home, Marita was unwilling to go back to school arguing that her friends were going to laugh at her hence not easy to cope in the classroom. When YONECO Theatre Troupe members were conducting a research on issues to incorporate in theatre for development, they came across Marita’s case. The team followed up the case and provided counseling services on the importance of returning back to school. After the counseling, Marita’s mother agreed that Marita should go back to school. Marita’s mother promised to take the responsibility and take care of her daughter. However her capacity was limited to poverty since she is a widow. The case was also referred to the head teacher for the school authorities to encourage Marita while she is back at their school. Mrs. Nyasulu who is Marita’s mother has asked well wishers to support her so that she can ably educate her daughter.

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