Up to 12 marriages have been terminated in Group Village Headman Tiopaizi, Traditional Authority Msakambewa in Dowa.
This follows joint community sessions conducted by theatre group – Kongwe Hills Youth Organisation and Tiopaizi Radio Listener’s Club who were trained by YONECO under Every Woman every Child Social accountability project funded by UNICEF. The community activities brought together various chiefs in the Senior Group Village Tiopaizi area, who resolved to end child marriages.
One of the girls rescued from an abusive child marriage, narrated that had it not been for such joint effort, she would probably been worse off than now.
“I got pregnant and married off when I was in standard eight, aged 14 years. The man was so abusive. After the meeting held by the RLC and the theatre group, my parents came and withdrew me from the marriage,” said the 14 year old girl, of Machake village, Traditional Authority Msakambewa.
Research shows that most youths are caught up with unplanned pregnancies because of lack of information, lack of services or lack of access to much needed sexual reproductive health services as highlighted the 14 year-old girl:
“I didn’t know I would get pregnant. This was my first sex. There was no protection whatsoever. The next thing I knew was I had missed my periods,” she said amid tears.
“Right now,” she stated, “I want to return to school. My dream is to one day become a journalist and support my child.”
While immensely thanking her parents for taking her back, she appealed for help in order to return to school.
In his remarks, Senior Group Village Headman Tiopaizi, emphasized that he would not relent in the fight against child marriages. He was grateful to the Radio listening clubs and Theatre group for initiating the development.