Young girls in Tanzania married off by parents for money
Poor farm families frequently sell off daughters for money, cows
In the African nation of Tanzania, poor farm families often sell off their daughters - some as young as 15, or even younger, to rich older men as brides. These young women are frequently denied things in an already impoverished situation, shut off from education and others, usually married to far older men.
A 2008 survey found that child marriage in Tanzania was driven by factors including the desire of a girl's parents to get a dowry, especially when they are poor, and a lack of knowledge about the impact of such marriages.
One such child bride, named Mrisho, faced many undue hardships. Within a year after being married, she became pregnant, and there were complications.
"When I got pregnant I had severe stomach pains, but he accused me of faking the pains. He refused to take me to hospital and instead he gave me a concoction of herbs to drink," she said.
Suffering a difficult delivery, good fortune finally smiled on Mrisho. "I thought that was the end of my life, but (I survived) thanks to an elderly woman who came to my rescue and helped me deliver."
Mrisho's marriage turned sour a year later. "I decided to run away from him, but I could not go back home. I went to stay with my aunt who is living in Zinga."
Women's rights groups blame Tanzania's high rates of child marriage on the country's marriage law, which gives the courts and parents the discretion to marry off children as young as 14.
"Some parents are hiding under the shadow of this law and selling their daughters to get money or cows. We strongly condemn this behavior," women's rights activist Eddah Hawala of the organization Kiota Women's Health and Development says. Hawala, whose agency helps marginalized girls, says that early marriage exposes girls to the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases and death in childbirth.
Mrisho, whose education was cut short, survived a far worse fate that her fellow classmate, who was secretly removed from school and married to a 42-year-old man who turned out to be a polygamist.
"My teachers opposed the idea of me getting married, but my father was rather insistent," Mrisho said. "Whenever I told him I wanted to remain in school, he shrugged it off by saying he did not attend a single class himself yet he managed to produce children and have a family."
A study on child marriage in 2008 performed by the Children Dignity Forum shows that child marriage is a big problem in Tanzania and is more prevalent in its Coast, Mwanza and Mara regions.
The survey found that child marriage was driven by factors including the desire of a girl's parents to get a dowry, especially when they are poor, and a lack of knowledge about the impact of such marriages.
Girls are more seriously affected by child marriage than boys, as they are more vulnerable to disease and can have complications during childbirth.
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lordís invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Africa News
- Muslims flee Central African Republic - only 1,000 remain out of 100,000 in capital
- Four Nigerian men accused of homosexuality
- WHAT? Egyptian army claims both a cure for AIDS, hepatitis C
- Coptic Orthodox Church condemns killing of Egyptians in Libya
- West African nation of Mauritania should take broader steps to stop slavery
- Bill outlawing Homosexual behavior becomes law in Uganda, carries death penalty for acts of 'aggravated homosexuality'
- Nearly 100 people killed in Islamist attack in Northeast Nigerian village
- AFRICA'S SHAME: HIV positive teens, children dying due to failure to test them
- South Sudanese rebels claim seizure of Malakal
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?