Build Africa, Empowering girls.
In rural Uganda it is not uncommon for girls to get married in their early teens. For parents who also married young and don’t appreciate the value of education, it must seem perfectly normal to allow your daughter to drop out of school and marry. For a family on the breadline, the bridal dowry paid by the groom might be seen as an incentive in itself.
A pupil at Tamula Primary School, 15 year old Christine, found herself the focus of an older man’s attentions in March this year. The man, who was in his late forties, had vowed to forcefully marry Christine regardless of any resistance from her parents or her school. He followed her to and from school and hung around outside the school hoping to catch her during break times.
Being Head Girl and a Health Club leader, Christine was aware of her rights. Instead of being intimidated, she rejected the man and raised her concern with her health club patron,Mrs CatherineAsimu. With Mrs Asimu’s help, the man was reported to the police but managed to leave the area before they could approach him.
Mrs Asimu says that there have been several incidences where teenaged girls have been forced into early marriages in this manner and it is common in homes and communities where parents are ill-educated.
“Fortunately Christine’s parents were also against this man’s deal”, she told us.
And Christine isn’t the only girl that has been given the chance of a better future, thanks to Mrs Asimu’s help and the confidence gained through the health clubs. In 2009, she tracked down a Primary seven pupil who had been married off to an older man by her parents and encouraged her to return to school.She passed her primary leaving examinations that same year and joined secondary school, which she attends to this day.
Mrs Asimu attributes changing attitudes to the girls’ involvement with the school health clubs,
"Through peer education and trainings pupils are quipped to defend their rights and are able to overcome the obstacles and challenges that would have turned into a roadblock to their future, thank you Build Africa for empowering us".