"My father has six daughters," says Milembe from Tanzania, "we mean nothing more to him than an opportunity to expand his herd. After I finished elementary school, he forced me to marry a 27-year-old man. I was only 12 years old. My dowry consisted of sixteen cows. I felt so unhappy, crying day and night for help."
The story of Milembe is not isolated. In East Africa child marriage and female circumcision are commonplace. Poverty is a major cause. Perceptions of the role of women and tradition also play an important part. Many countries have no recourse to obstruct the perpetrators. Legislation is not in place, or it cannot be enforced. Child marriage and teenage pregnancies often result in the girls no longer attending school. Additionally, pregnancy is a leading cause of death for girls because their young bodies are not yet able to cope.They also are at high risk of HIV infection.
Terre des Hommes defends girls like Milembe. We get children away from situations involving abuse and violence and provide victims with temporary shelter, care and legal aid. We work within communities to increase child protection and train police and the judiciary to better apply laws that are in place.We also lobby governments for better protection of children.
To do this we need your help. Help children like Milembe, stop child abuse in East Africa. Donate now!
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