Rumbidzai urges children to shun early marriage

Monday 8 May 2017

Rumbidzai holding her second born child

By Chido Katsiga

My name is Rumbidzai and I am 24 years old. My parents died when I was 8 years old and still at primary school. From there I went to live with my grandmother in Rushinga.  

Despite being unemployed, my grandmother worked hard in the fields and managed to pay my school fees throughout primary school and I proceeded to secondary school.  When I got to form 2, life became difficult and my grandma struggled to raise the school fees and I eventually had to drop out of school that same year at the age of 17.

That same year, I met a young man who was 27 years old and we became friends. After a while he proposed love to me and I accepted his proposal and life was very exciting. Shortly afterwards, he introduced me to his paternal aunts and we quickly went through the process of formalising our relationship and he paid the bride price.We started living together as husband and wife when i was 17. I had my first child at 19. My husband and I were both unemployed and we struggle to survive or provide for our children.

At present I am having challenges paying for their school fees. It is hard for me to get a job because I am not educated. I wish I had been educated, so that I could get a job and take care of my family. It pains me to imagine how the future of my two children will be like, if I don’t manage to send them to school. I don’t wish them to experience the hardships that I have gone through.

I advise all young children who still have the opportunity to go to school to focus on their education and not rush into getting married.

Rumbidzai opened up to Save the Children after meeting them at a campaign to end child marriages that was held in Rushinga district, where they interviewed children who married before the age of 18. Save the Children launched a Campaign to end child marriages in the district in April 2016 and the campaign will continue until end of 2018. The campaign is targeting mostly children from grade 6 up to form 4, and it also involves working with duty bearers within government ministries, civic society organisations, as well as traditional and religious leaders to get their buy in and support for the success of the campaign. At policy level, the campaign is advocating for harmonisation of all laws that relate to child marriage to the January 20 2016 constitutional court ruling that effectively banned child marriage.