Back in July we received a complaint concerning a young girl named Irene who was a victim of child marriage. The caller informed us that this girl was only 16 years old but she wasn’t attending school because her father had forced her to get married. Irene was in form two at the time. We referred the case to a Social Work Officer (SWO), who informed the police.
The father was arrested but later released on bail and the investigation carried on. The SWO reported that the police couldn’t hold the father accountable because of his financial situation. There were previous reports of the girl dropping out of school due to lack of materials.
Sitting down with baba Irene, he explained that the only reason he married off his daughter was because he wanted to protect her from early pregnancies and the only way he could do that, he reasoned was to get her married.
Moving forward with the case, the SWO together with the Local Government Authorities (LGA) agreed to get Irene out of that marriage and assist her to get back to school, they gathered resources and got her everything she would need to go back to school. The neighbor who reported the matter called the helpline to show his appreciation for the efforts that the Helpline took to assist Irene and to confirm that she was indeed attending school.
Two out of five girls will be married before they turn 18 in Tanzania due to a number of reasons. These reasons however do not negate the illegalities of the matter.
Don’t stay silent when you learn that a child in your neighborhood/community is being forced into marriage.
Call the National Child Helpline free of cost number 116 to report violations of children’s rights.
PS. Irene is not her real name. Her real name has been concealed to protect her identity in line with our Child Safeguarding Policy.