By Catherine Apolot
Child marriage is a formal marriage or informal union entered into by an individual before reaching the age of 18 years.
According to Plan International, a humanitarian organization, each year, 12 million girls are married off before the age of 18 worldwide. That’s about 23 girls every minute; nearly one every two second.
Back to Uganda, despite the existing laws, the vice still remains widespread.
Justine (not real name) is among the many young girls who have tested the wrath of the erroneous vice.
At only 13 years of age, Justine was recently chased out of her home and married off by her father and step mother.
However, after a few days in ‘marriage’, she escaped and ran to her head teacher whom she narrated her ordeal. The Primary Seven candidate revealed that she wanted to continue with her Education but her father was not at any point willing to pay her fees.
After listening to her sad story, the head teacher allowed her back to school until she finishes her Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE).
Since she has no place to call home, Justine now stays at her school premises. The sad part is that after her final exams she will have nowhere to go.
According to Hope Nankunda of Raising Teenagers-Uganda, the Head teacher also reported the case to police and they contacted the father who said he doesn’t want to see her daughter in his compound or else he will kill her.
She says through her NGO, last year they supported Justine with sanitary pads and knickers with a hope that she would stay in school and complete her education without being limited by menstrual periods.
Nankunda is now looking to organizations, individuals that can support Justine’s Education and also offer her a home to stay.
“I am now looking for organisations and individuals that can help to support her education and offer a home to stay,” said Nankunda in a facebook post “She is just a young girl that needs kindness, love and Care.
Would you like to support, please get in touch with us at Raising Teenagers-Uganda and be a reason for her to smile again,” she added.