Veronica’s dreams of going to school were almost shattered after her father decided to force her into an early marriage. He refused to pay her tuition and wanted her to drop out of school. Also, as the sixth of seven children in her family, neither she nor her siblings were supported by their father when it came to pursuing an education.
Marrying off daughters in exchange for cattle to feed a family, settle a debt, or bring peace to conflicting families or tribes is common practice within many rural communities in Sub- Saharan Africa. Because of poverty, a lack of education and resources, many fathers will hand over their daughters’ fates to men three or four times the girl’s age. Veronica is one of the lucky few who have escaped an early marriage and been given an opportunity to go to school.
On hearing of Veronica’s predicament, her headmaster at Makayuni Primary School sought help from Asante Africa Foundation and the community to find her. It was close. They came just in time; her father had hidden her and had a cow ready as dowry for her marriage. Upon intervention, Veronica’s father retracted the marriage and agreed to allow her to return to school. As a recipient of an Asante Africa Foundation Scholarship, Veronica will be able to afford to go back to school.
An early marriage is not just a Kenyan or Tanzanian problem, it’s a global challenge found in many countries. As Esther , an Asante Africa Foundation’s student graduates, said, “Some girls are married off early [and] some are taken…these things force many to run away from home and they miss out on an education.”
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