A Zimbabwean teen girl is taking the issue of child marriage into her own hands. She is using taekwondo to fight child marriage as this practice continues to be on the rise especially in Sub-saharan Africa.
17-year-old Natsiraishe Maritsa is the founder of the Vulnerable Underaged People’s Auditorium initiative. She started practicing Taekwondo since age 5. The teen girl’s love for Taekwondo has made her to draw in women at risk or have been affected by child marriage to facilitate important discussions on the issue.
This Zimbabwean teen girl always teach 15 women and girls taekwondo, however, had to stop the sessions as a result of the national COVID-19 lockdown. Young children and Maritsa’s former classmates attend these taekwondo classes. Young mothers who have been forced to marry early share the abuse they faced during the discussion.
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The role of teen mothers is usually ignored when people campaign against child marriages. Here, I use their voices, their challenges, to discourage those young girls not yet married to stay off early sexual activity and marriage.Martisa
Despite banning child marriage in Zimbabwe in 2016, this practice still exists. In rural Zimbabwe, child marriage is on the rise and about 34% of teen girls are married before they clock 18 while 5% get married before age 15. Some of the factors responsible for the rise in child marriage are religious beliefs, family honor, poverty, and lack of education.
The current pandemic has only increased the rate of child marriage across the world as many families give their children hand in marriage in a bid to alleviate financial burdens. Many girls couldn’t continue with their education since their parents can’t afford the required fees again.