Stepping Up For The Girl Child By Ending Child Marriages
Every young man feels the urge to protect and guard their sisters jealously.
A sense of anger towards the insatiable, inconsiderate older men who prey on younger girls is unavoidable. My name is Tanaka Junior Gandawa. I am a lower sixth student at Double Portion college and l salute UNICEF and its implementing partners (SAfAIDS, Save the Children, Padare, TAG A LIFE and many others) for their role in the fight to end child marriages. As a responsible young man, l am wholeheartedly committed to this cause.
I believe it is true that young girls mature faster than boys. When l was in form 3 it never crossed my mind to be in a relationship but some girls were already in relationships, some of them with older men.
Because money is a big issue attracting young girls to follow the wrong path, one of my classmates was scooped by an older man at the age of just 15. Pregnant at 15, the girl was forced to marry the man (who was probably in his late 40s), as her parents wanted to protect their status in the community. Unfortunately, both she and her baby were infected with HIV. Reality is sometimes difficult to accept, my classmate decided that her only option to escape from the brutal world she found herself in was to kill herself.
That is why ending child marriages became my priority. Young girls need to emerge from their hiding paces and fight for a good cause – for their rights!
I have started advocating for the rights of the girl child and nothing will stop me.
Girls should make education their priority so that they realise their dreams and focus on achieving their life’s goals. ‘’The short cuts they yearn for make their lives short’’’.
But this can never only be a girl child’s responsibility. Stepping up for girls to restore our pride as real men is our responsibility too.