Natural disasters blamed for early marriages in Karonga

It has been revealed that girls in Malawi’s northern barder district of Karonga drop out of school and go into  marriages due to natural disasters such as floods and earth quakes which happen in the district.

This came to light  during Circle Social Support by Pastors Fraternal organized by World Vision Malawi at Mwetete in which pastors from various churches were called to interact with young girls and boys in the disaster-prone areas face.

Chairman of the Fraternal Runwell Kilembe of Living Waters church said he was very surprised that some girls drop out of school because of heavy floods that often happens in the area.

“It is very unfortunate to see that some girls are facing many challenges due to flooding that happens in Karonga and this will increase illiteracy levels in the country if it will not be addressed.”

He added that have come across one girl of 17 years old who said went into marriage because of the last floods which destroyed their house and all her cloths were gone and the only option was to go into marriage.

Pastors and addresing children in flood prone Karonga district ... pix by Tiwonge Kumwenda
Pastors and addresing children in flood prone Karonga district … pix by Tiwonge Kumwenda

The girl, Tryness Mwalwanda confesses that she went into marriage because she had nowhere to sleep and her being a girl the only option was to get married.

“Now am back from the marriage because it was not easy to take care of the whole family where I was married and also I was not prepared to get married but because everything at home were gone and our house was damaged I see no reason of being there but to get refuge to a man who promised to take good care of me,” says Mwalwanda.

Kilembe added that it was not only Tryness who went into marriage but many girls as it also revealed that a 15 year old girl is married due to the similar challenge.

“These children have also mentioned of their friends who are married due to floods,” worried Kilembe.

He then urged girls and boys to have faith in God saying all things are possible with him and he has a purpose with everything that happens on earth.

“We have heard so many problems that these children face when these natural disasters are happing but the only thing we can do as of now is to build faith in these kids so that they should be relaying on God on every decision that they make in their life as we are going to brainstorm on out next move,” said Kilembe.

World Vision District Programme Manager Cornex Mbaluko says program aims to address mental status of children affected by natural disasters.

“As you know, we always provide physical support on any natural disaster that occur in the district and now we are doing it in different way as we want to be communal centered especially on children so that we should address their needs for them to have better future,” said Mbaluko.

He says the K1.1 million projects, has already started bearing fruits as they have identified some of problems that young girls face during floods period.

“Now we know that during floods girls are forced to go into marriage to get relief from that, and we as an organization we will see how to deal with this issue problem as the project is ongoing,” said Mbaluko.

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