NEWS | EDUCATION
By Hawa Juma.
Minus corruption and favoritism, under-age marriages are some of the major vices that are rocking Malawi nation from almost all corners. Numerous efforts have been put in place to check the vice but day in day out, many an underage girl are still being forced into taking matrimonial vows.
But in just two years, the story has been different for Mponda village deep down the border district of Mchinji. Here, a group called Mother Group has successfully rescued 21 underage girls from the pangs of marriages. The girls, between 14 and 15 years old have so far been returned to a nearby primary school.
Although the said village has a single primary school, Mother Group and the surrounding communities still regard education as the key to their children’s success.
According to the vice Chairperson of the grouping, Olivia Francis, the exercise was not all that smooth.
“We face a lot of challenges when we are taking away the girls from their marriage. Some of the parents get angry at us saying that we should have left their children at the husbands’ house, and some of the men the girls get married to, threaten us not to take away the wives. But despite that, we still try to take them away trough the help of the surrounding traditional leaders,” She Said.
Francis added that Mother Group takes responsibility of the girls after they take them out of marriages so that they should not go back.
“We visit the girls frequently to confirm that they have not gone back and we empower them so that they should remove the thoughts of marriage and focus on education. We also visit the school to check out their performance from the teachers and the head teacher,” she said.
She further said Mother Group is doing its part to combat child marriages by teaching girls the importance of education and telling the parents not to allow young girls to venture into marriages prematurely.
“We teach girls who are in school and those we take away from the marriages the importance of education especially those waiting to give birth and go back to school. And since parents just let their children get married without acting. We also let them know the consequences of marrying off girls before the legal age,” Said Francis.
Expressing satisfaction with the Mother group initiative, Francis urges for the continuation of the introduction of the Mother Group initiative in rural areas where it has not reached.
“It is a great initiative since the girls are afraid of getting married because they know that if they get married today, Mother Group will take them out tomorrow, so they work hard in school,” she said.