In the heart of Malawi, child marriage persists despite its outlawing in 2017. Tamara’s* story, shared by the BBC, unveils the harsh reality endured by young girls.
Cultural norms and economic struggles drive families to give away their daughters, perpetuating a cycle of exploitation and abuse. Over 40% of girls in Malawi are married before 18, according to the NGO Girls Not Brides.
Tamara was one of them. At the vulnerable age of 12, economic desperation led to her being sold into an illegal union for a meager £7/$9. In the marriage, Tamara endured months of abuse until the intervention of social services led her husband to flee. She then realized that she was pregnant – at 12 years old. By now, she has given birth to a healthy boy and is receiving support from the local NGO People Serving Girls At Risk.
“She has the support of the community and her aunt, but the real work starts now. It would be better for her to return to school but she also needs to support her child.” – Caleb N’gombo, Executive Director of People Serving Girls At Risk