Sunday, 28 June 2015


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 The recent revelation of child mums down at Kisumu reduced me to tears. Poverty and persistent backward traditions are impeding teenage girls from pursuing their future. Early marriages tops the list of challenges facing the girl child in this area; 43% to be precise. As a consequence of extreme poverty,some parents subject their teenage daughters (aged between 15-18 years) to early marriages.

These marriages are imposed on the girls as a means of reducing the number of dependents, or by proscribing her the role of a bread winner and compelled to sacrifice her dreams of completing her education. With early marriages comes early pregnancies, where the young wives are expected to bare children in exchange for monetary support for their families back home. Children end up raising children.

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Some girls are lured by men, as old as their fathers, who use goodies as bait. Shame became too heavy to bear for a certain girl, aged fifteen, who admits to having a boyfriend primarily to help meet her financial needs. She became fed up of the state of poverty that rocked her homestead as her mother could not afford to buy her essentials such as sanitary towels.

A headteacher at a public school in this troubled county expresses his distress at the escalating rate of early pregnancies witnessed at the institute. He reveals that during the recent teachers' strike period, 10 teenage girls fell victim to early marriages and pregnancies. Teachers took to the streets expressing their woes with unsatisfying wages. This left the girls wandering away from the school compound, some being forcefully married off, even as second wives.

Physical abuse in child marriages is growing, where the young wife is forced to labor hard by engaging in manual as a prescribed role of a wife. Once again, a girl's dream is tossed aside, her hues reduced to nothing but a nagging whine. Sadly, some child mums end up raising their children as single parents after fleeing from battering husbands who mark their bodies with bruises.

When poverty coerces a girl child into trading her dreams for pennies, it reflects a decaying society that has failed to protect her and her hopes of leading a life equal to that of the opposite gender. If she dares to reject this role, she is labelled a deviant and faces stigmatization from family and the community at large.

Rescue her, please!

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