Child mother testimony moves leaders to tears

In short
A testimony of a 15 year old child-mother moved leaders to tears as she narrated her ordeal during the launch of End child marriage€ campaign in Amuria yesterday. Uganda is among the 15 worst African countries with high numbers of child brides. An inter-agency report released in March last year says 46% of underage girls below 18 are forced or lured into marriage, putting Uganda in the 11th position on the list. Niger tops the list at 75% followed by Chad with 72% of child marriages.

A testimony of a 15 year old child-mother moved leaders to tears as she narrated her ordeal during the launch of “End child marriage” campaign in Amuria yesterday. Agnes Kabonesa, who lost her father at an early age, says she was forced into marriage by her mother. Kabonesa dropped out of school when she was fifteen years. The campaign of end child marriage now was organized by World Vision Uganda.

Kabonesa’s testimony moved most people to tears as she narrated how her mother forced her into early marriage. She said that her mother kept quarreling and asking her why she was not getting married so that she could enjoy her daughter’s dowry before she dies. Kabonesa says due to lack of simple necessities like sanitary pads, soap and smearing oil that her mother failed to provide she was compelled to accept advances from a primary seven drop out. She consequently became pregnant and she was forced to go and stay with her teenage husband.

Kabonesa said her mother and her uncles went and picked one cow and 50,000 shillings as fine from her husband’s parents before they chased her to go to live at the boy’s family. As Kabonesa went on to narrate her moving testimony most people could not hold back their tears. The district chairperson Amuria, John Francis Oluma confessed that Kabonesa’s testimony moved him to tears. Oluma noted that Amuria district leads in child marriages in the Teso sub-region. Kabonesa had complications while giving birth and her child passed away shortly after delivery. She went back to school after dropping out in Senior Two. With the support from World Vision she managed to sit her Ordinary Level exams last year. Caroline Birungi, the in charge child protection desk at East Kyoga regional police, said that in 2013 alone over 1389 defilement cases were reported to police. Close to two million Ugandan children are forced or lured into early marriages, according to a report on African human social development. The inter-agency report is compiled from statistics gathered between 2010 and 2012 from UN Population Fund, UNICEF, World Health Organisation and the World Bank. The report puts Uganda among the 15 worst African countries with high numbers of child brides. According to the report, 46% of underage girls below 18 are forced or lured into marriage, putting Uganda in the 11th position on the list. Niger tops the list at 75% followed by Chad with 72% of child marriages.

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