Organization calls for support in fighting against child marriages

head of an organisation involved in the fight against child marriages in Malaiw

People Serving Girls at Risk, one of the organizations that has been fighting against child marriages, says inadequate of funding has been a major challenge to support girls that were rescued from early marriages by the organization.

The organization has been on the ground to save young girls who got pregnant and forced into marriage by their parents at the age as far as 13 years by bringing them home and supporting them with capital to start a business so that they can be independent.

Some girls are sent back to school to continue with their studies.

Speaking with reporters, Director of the organization Caleb Ng’ombo said that despite parliament passing out budgets in parliament, the budgets are not enough to reach out to many children who are in marriage.

He said that government could have revised budget to show commitment in the fight against child marriages because if the country wants to win the fight there should be joint efforts starting by the government and then other partners.

According to him, government is currently providing 500,000 Kwacha per district to address child protection but the organization has never been lucky to receive such funds.

“Much as sponsored organization raising and addressing child marriages funding has been a problem. We have noticed that parents have been at the forefront pushing their children into child marriages to run away from their responsibilities. This is a gap that we have been addressing,” he said.

On his part, chairperson for Social and Community welfare Savel Kafwafwa said that the issue of child marriage is a deep-rooted thing because as members of parliament they did their part by making a law which says that anyone below the age of 18 should not get into marriage and those found marrying a child should be punished.

“My concern is some of these child marriages are being perpetuated by the society. This is seen when a girl sees her first menses because she is told that she is now an adult which gives her courage to do what adults do.

“Another thing is that we need clear research whereby we want to quantify because our assumption that of all the child marriages that we talk about now what triggers for them to get married half of them it is because they are being impregnated as such, they should get married to the one responsible for the pregnancy, so those cultural beliefs should be looked into,” he said.

One of the survivors from Mtenje in Blantyre, Stella Chipote said child marriages are bad because girls face lot of problems like lack of food and being abused, among other things.

Chipote who got pregnant when she was 18 years’ old encouraged her fellow young ladies to focus on their studies because child marriage is not a solution.

People Serving girls at Risk is working in the districts of Blantyre, Neno, Mangochi and Machinga and they are targeting children between the age of 8 to 18 years.