Rescued from the Barriers of Child Marriage
16-year-old Naserian is currently in secondary school and has been the recipient of the Asante Africa Foundations’ Scholarship Program since 2021. She was among the students chosen to receive a full scholarship from the organization due to her challenging background story. She was also selected to be a part of the first cohort of the Bridge the Gap initiative in Tanzania.
Naserian hails from a low-income family where she has faced numerous challenges due to her father’s alcoholism. Her father has not only subjected her to the prospect of early marriage but has also pushed for female genital mutilation (FGM), one of the worst violations of girls’ rights. In response to these challenging conditions undermining gender equity, Naserian found refuge with her primary school teacher after Asante Africa Foundation extended its helping hand.
When the scholarship team picked Naserian up from school during the holidays and brought her to the rescue home, she expressed,
“My parents separated because my father struggled with alcohol addiction and mistreated my mother, both physically and emotionally. He also insisted on my early marriage and disapproved of my education. I want to express my heartfelt thanks to Asante Africa for supporting me. Your generous assistance and commitment to providing me with a quality education and a safe home is helping me pursue my dreams.”
Naserian is fortunate to have avoided child marriage with the help of the Asante Africa Foundation team. Her experience shows how education and community intervention can break the cycle of child marriage. However, many girls in Sub-Saharan Africa are not as lucky. Shockingly, a recent study has shown that 51.7% of girls in the region face the dual threats of FGM and child marriage. These entrenched practices perpetuate gender inequality, depriving these girls of their childhood, education, and prospects. It highlights the need for continuous efforts to combat these harmful traditions and protect the rights of vulnerable young girls.
The Scholarship Program supports deserving students from low-income families in rural East Africa. It is merit-based and need-based, providing financial assistance and student support to enable these students to access quality education. This opportunity empowers motivated students like Naserian to achieve their academic goals and realize their potential. Through this program, we strive to make higher education accessible to all, regardless of their financial circumstances or their challenges at home.