Moraa- "I wish to go back to school."
By Okun Oliech
| March 6th 2017
One would expect a 16 year old girl to be in school busy chasing after her dreams and goals in life but that is not the case for 16 year old Moraa who lives in Uloma village in Siaya County.
Forced to drop out of school when it got too expensive and because of poverty, Moraa was forced to marry a 24 year old man for her to survive. Her parents could no longer take care of her so marrying her off against her will was the only solution to reduce the cost for them
Moraa is a lonely girl. She spends most of her time at home dreaming of a better life. She wishes to go back to school.
“I had 8 years of school in primary, but when it came to joining secondary school my parents had no money to pay for my schooling,” she said
“I feel so bad and envious when I see other girls and boys passing near our home as they go to school,” she said. “I wish I could still go to school and achieve my dreams of becoming a nurse. I regret leaving school and accepting to be married and be sitting at home doing nothing.”
Moraa is not alone. According to plan international, every two seconds a girl below 18 years becomes a child bride. In Siaya County 50% of all marriages involve young girls below the age of 18 compared to the national statistics of 25%. (Ministry of health 2015)
Child marriage is a violation of girls’ rights and denies girls their right to make vital decisions about their sexual health and well-being. It forces them out of education and into a life of poor prospects, with increased risk of violence, abuse, ill health or early death.
According to the Kenya Demographic health survey 2014 and other survey done with different non-governmental organizations,
- Girls from rural areas are twice as likely to marry as children as those from urban areas.
- Child brides are most likely to be from poor families.
- Married girls are generally less educated, either for lack of opportunity or the curtailment of their schooling by early marriage.
“Marriage is tough and I don’t want this life. My Husband is unfaithful and he doesn’t give me money when he usually leaves in the morning for work. I only see a bleak future with him. I wish I could change all these and go back to school. It is where my heart wants to be,” she says.
Even though both international law and the Kenyan law prohibits child marriage, child marriage continues to be practiced here in Kenya. For Kenya to end child marriage, there is need to increase communities’ awareness of children’s right, support girls to get an education and become independent, implement laws and policies that protect children and young girls from harmful practices to the letter and finally educate families about sexual and reproductive health and rights.
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