Challenges an African girl faces
An African girl child is facing a lot of challenges and troubles on her way up to archive her dreams. Many African parents still have the mentality of looking at their young girls as a source of wealth in terms of bride price and dowry. They also think that educating a girl child is a waste of resources and family funds since she will one day get married and she will only go to help her husband and inlaws. These baseless beliefs have shut down the dreams of many bright girls who end up getting married early having not given equal opportunities as those of a boy child.
African mothers have assumed their duties as mothers after their daughters reach a certain age. African girls will come from school and find all family dishes waiting for them to wash, to go fetch water, collect firewood, warm water for her father to take a bath, and cook for the family. This has left many African girls to give up on their education. Their father whom they worship like god will even be happy when his girl drops out. According to him, this marks the new beginning of him to look for a wealthy man to marry her not even considering her age.
Efforts to Protect African Child
Many African countries have set laws to protect the girl child and also some organizations have partnered with African countries to ensure the girl child receives education. However, girls from remote areas are in great danger as many cases go unreported. Its soo disturbing how many girls get raped or sexually abused by their fathers, uncles, or family members but the cases go unreported or the family decides to settle the matter on their own.
The girl’s life gets ruined with some ending up pregnant and left with no option rather than drop out of school. With some efforts being made to fight for the future of an African girl, still, there is a lot to be done. Many girls have fled their homes from early marriages and sexual abuses from family members. African governments need to put harsh punishment against sex offenders and educate communities on the equality of every child regardless of gender and background.
The government on Early Marriages
Many African countries have set rules on legal age for marriages. With many African communities holding their heads high on their culture, they still believe that the marriage of underage girls is in accordance with their culture.
This has made many girls go and seek help from police so that they can continue with their education. Although there are many girls rescued from early marriages, there is no or little action taken against the offenders. This has left many cases unreported and others believing they will never get justice.
Creation of rescue Centers
Some African countries have created rescue centers for girls who flee from home due to sexual abuse by a parent(s) or from early marriages. This is a good idea but if the culprits are still free, it makes the victims insecure and unable to continue with their education.
The society which also may be supporting the idea of early marriages may treat the victim as an outcast if she doesn’t cooperate with their cultural practices. Some communities that practice female genital mutilation they treat other girls who have not undergone the same as an outcast and not allowed to be with any man in that community. Even after the girl is rescued in order to continue with her education, even after achieving her dreams and goes back to her society, they still consider her unholy, and an outcast.
Who to blame
The government has failed many aspiring girls for not bringing offenders and culprits to book who continue posing threats to victims making them fall in their trap. The government has also failed to equip rescue centers with the needed personnel to help the rescued girls cope with, stress, depression, and heal emotionally and psychologically.
Parents have been in the frontline to hide evidence on African girl’s sexual abuses claiming to sort the matter as family. Seeing the offenders free after being fined a few goats makes the victims insecure they may never heal from what they went through. Parents should be the ones protecting their girls against any harm and reporting matters like sexual abuse to the police for the best action to be taken and justice to prevail.
Parents have also failed to take the education of an African girl seriously. This has pushed some girls to the wall until they are left with no option than getting married. Some girls when are sent home to collect school fees the parents act like they don’t care or either not concerned and all they are told is to wait.
The society has also taken part to bring the future of an African girl down in the name of culture. Communities have participated in the early dowry payment of young girls and held celebrations of the same. The society has also organized female genital mutilation processes for young girls without their knowledge ending up ruining their future and being exposed to early marriages.
The society has also been in the frontline in hiding evidence on serious offenses committed to underage girls in Africa. Without serious punishment actions, many communities will say that they will handle the issue as a family. After the culprit is fined a few goats, only the parents of the victim will benefit and the victim may feel the justice was not served.
Society has also acted as a barrier to block those who do not follow some of their outdated cultural practices. They treat them as an outcast and even preventing them from attending some community occasions. They are considered unholy and unfit within society.
It’s the high time some communities get away with outdated cultural practices which might ruin the future of bright African girls. This can only be done with the help of parents and the government. The government should also educate the communities on some of the outdated cultural practices that are ruining the future of African girls.