Every little girl cannot dream of the most important day in her life, when she would get married to the love of their life. In Malawi, as a common practice they separate small girls from their families and force them to marry someone they haven’t even met.
Yes, it’s really unbelievable the trauma and the shock caused by such an event.
The poorest country in the world is Malawi and it is located in the southeast region of Africa. These traditions are very common in the underdeveloped area. It was said that half of the girls were sent away by their parents to marry before they turn 18 in 2012.
A law was passed to forbid men to marry minor girls in 2015. But the marriages did not end as the families had many financial problems; they agree to send the girls in order to help them live with less financial problems.
As soon as the minor girls get their first period they are sent to sexual initiation camps, they are taught of their “duties”, and behaviors that could please their men sexually. The little girls are encouraged to have sexual intercourses, which leads to too many pregnancies and HIV.
Theresa Kachindamoto, a senior chief in the Dedza district of Malawi cannot bear up all these things.
According to Al Jazeera:
“Thirteen years ago, Theresa Kachindamoto could not have conceived of ever leaving her job of 27 years as a secretary at a city college in Zomba, another district in Southern Malawi.
She had no desire to return home to Monkey Bay, a stunning cluster of mountains in Dedza District around Lake Malawi. Although she had the blood of chiefs — Malawi’s traditional authority figures — running through her veins, as the youngest of 12 siblings, a woman, and a mother of five, Kachindamoto never expected to become a senior chief to the more than 900,000 people.
But when the chiefs called, she says, they told her to pack her bags and go home to Dedza district, as she had been chosen as the next senior chief. She was told that she had been chosen because she was “good with people”, and that she was now the chief, “whether I liked it or not”, she recalls.
Kachindamoto duly donned the traditional beads, red robes, and a leopardskin headband, and started touring the rows of mud-walled, grass-thatched homes to meet her people.”
She was really shocked and worried by this tradition and decided to take action and make a change from the very first day.
“Whether you like it or not, I want these marriages to be terminated.”
She met 50 other sub-chief and signed an agreement to end up this child marriage.
Minor girls could not get married anymore in the areas she was working. There was some male chief who did the opposite of the agreement, and they were fired by her. She also banned and shut down the sexual initiation camps. She managed to annul 850 child marriages and sent the girls back to school.
Many people told her that she didn’t have the right to mess with tradition, but she was still determined:
“I don’t care, I don’t mind. I’ve said, whatever, we can talk, but these girls will go back to school.”
She emphasized the importance of education:
“First of all it was difficult, but now people are understanding. If they are educated, they can be and have whatever they want.”
She did the right and most suitable thing and provided a better life for the girls in her country and her hard work and vision inspired many even though she had to fight with the tradition to succeed in it.
She said, “I want these girls to be educated because in the future they will take care of us.”