When love and marriage become a sad tale and a horrible night mare in the life of a girl child.
On the 29th January 2013,Joy For Children Uganda,a non profit organization launched Girls Not Brides-The Uganda Alliance to End Early Marriages along side the prevention of Violence Against Children initiatives!
This was a way to put across the woes of the girl child,who faces forceful early marriage,depriving her of her childhood,visions,dreams,and aspirations because many believe her place is no better than in the kitchen,that her wisdom doesn't matter to society,that she has no say and therefore marriage to an old man sometimes almost her grandfather's age is preferred,the ceremony is graced with celebrations of feasting,she cant stop it but silently in her heart she grieves,she wishes someone had asked her future dreams,she would say a lot of who she wants to become,sadly she is a child mother,'a baby carrying a baby",before she knows it she is turned into a punching bag,tortured and battered into submission,nobody else cares about her tomorrow,but truth is she misses her childhood of yesterday,the dodge ball game,making and playing with baby dolls....
Her feminity is destroyed right there,what of the health consequences?those who escort her like a sacrificial lamb dont even mind that bit,all they care about is the accompanying dowry,not even worth her soul,not worth the eternal slavery she will be subjected to:(
In one of the local tabloids recently,i read with horror in the district of Kotido in Uganda,a young girl aged 8 was a bride in a marriage ceremony that was enjoyed by including top district leaders.The front page caption shows the sad young girl looking towards the heavens as if asking God to come down and rescue her immediately on the other hand as if she is pondering into the future and all she can see are savages and cruel people around her,and a dark world,as if she is saying"how i wish you people knew that i hate what you are doing to me".Her visibly excited 9 year old husband to be has a very vague grin on his face which i later interpreted that perhaps he thinks he is in a school play thus the grin.As i read on,i then understood that this girl was being booked in advance or rather betrothed to this boy for the future.Both families had identified these two and chosen to come to an agreement of 50cows and 70guards of local brew to seal this deal.I was thrown off balance,on reading along,i realized this wasnt a case of poverty since the bride's mother is a very wealthy woman in the town,but that it was culture and custom to do things this way.So many questions immediately shot in my head,what if these two grow up and realize they are not meant to be?what would happen?would they get stuck with each other because of a decision that was made on their behalf many years ago?did the parents have the interest of these two babies at heart?or was it for their own selfish gain?ah,did they ask these two babies if they actually love each other?oh,but what do an 8 and 9year old know about true love?what if they decided to engage in sex and the girl got pregnant at an early age?This was just beyond my reasoning..and so does culture have to deprive children of their rights?If this is it,then the land of Kotido better do away with this culture and give children a right to be children.
I long for the day this reality is a buried night mare!we can save the girl child and ensure prevention and protection for all children.If we can speak with formidable action against such atrocities committed against children then the world will be a safe and better place for children to grow up and have their dreams,visions and future aspirations fulfilled.The struggle begins now,not later.