I met this girl in Mafalala, she is 17 years old and the name of her little son is Antonio.
In Mozambique, 56% of the girls get married before the age of 18. These marriages are a clear obstacle to the development of the society and have serious consequences for the health and well being of young girls.
I was asked whether a marriage with a much older man (which usually is the case here) couldn’t be the choice of the girl herself. Of course, in many cases it is the girl and her family who decide that the time to become married has come. The reason for this is the social and financial protection that the girl can recieve from a man when her family isn’t capable of providing her with it.
The first and most predictable problem is that the girl becomes very inferior to her husband simply because of the age difference, putting her at risk to physical, psychological and sexual abuse. The girl is taken out of school making it impossible for her to complete her education. A girl who is too young to give birth is likely to suffer from very serious complications if she does so anyway and the intercourse between an adult man and a young girl puts her at a very high risk of contracting HIV. There are many dangers and wrongs with turning girls into women before they are mature, educated and ready.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2012, the Swedish Embassy in Maputo has published a call to the end of early marriages in Mozambique. Please read by clicking it below, and feel free to share.