The right to a brighter future through Education for child brides
At the age of 15, Musu Sowa* was forced by her parents to marry a 69-year-old man in return for financial support since they did not believe in educating a girl anyway. Today she thanks Right to Be a Girl for changing her life.
“As a little girl I always dreamed of having an education and becoming somebody in life so that I can support my family and be a role model in my community.”
When she moved to her husband’s village she found that he already had significantly older wives. Musu quickly became a slave for the household and the disdain the other wives had for her lead to physical violence.
“I just could not take it any longer. The beatings, the work and worst of all having to sleep with an old man. I did not want to let my family down. This man was providing for them but as the days went on I started thinking that if I did not get away I would die. I had no choice but to run away.”
Musu returned to her family home in Surmu Community. A decision she did not take lightly knowing the shame this would bring to her family.
“My father was not happy about my decision. He feels I have brought shame to the family. It took some time for me to settle back into the community. I felt lost, I was not going to school anymore and worst of all my father refused to have anything to do with me.”
Musu was enrolled in the Right to Be a Girl Project by MoPADA a local NGO partnering with Save the Children in Pujehun District. The project aims to end early forced marriage through engagements with community leaders and parents to facilitate behavior change, and supporting over 1000 girls who are victims of child marriage to go back to school or learn skills for economic empowerment.
MoPADA assessed Musu and based on her situation she joined the safe space where she received counselling and had the opportunity to network with other girls like her. She told MoPADA staff that she wanted to have her own business. Although she dreamed of returning to school she had no one to provide for her two-year-old son. Despite all her challenges she is optimistic and looks forward to a brighter future.
“Right to be a Girl has been a blessing to me. Through this project I have not only been able to plan for the future, I have also learned how to cope with some of the stress I face at home. I know that things will change. It is just a matter of time. I have faith.”
Note: *Musu Sowa is not her real name