Saturday, 28 January 2012

Narok pupils save girl from early marriage

Narok pupils save girl from early marriage

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More than 368 girls of a primary school in Narok South district yesterday stormed their colleague’s home after they learnt that she had been married off to a middle-aged man. The pupils of Aitong primary school, led by their headgirl Gladys Sairowua, forced the mother of the 14-year-old standard seven pupil to put on her daughter's school uniform and go to class.

The pupils were protesting the decision by the mother to marry off SermeteiKipeen. The pupil's father was allegedly not aware or involved in the marriage negotiations. “We were very angry when we heard that our colleague has beenmarried off. That is why we went for her mother. We wanted her to remain in school until she realises that she has to let her daughtercontinue with her education,” Sairowua said.

Sairowua said she and her fellow pupils decided to take the action to set example toother parents in the area who do not take the girl child education seriously. “She was a bright pupil and forcing her for early marriageis going to render her education useless,” she said. The headteacher John Sengeny said Sermetei disappeared from school last Tuesday for unknown reasons. He said when they followed up the matter at her home, they realised that marriage negotiations had already started and the girl had been taken into hiding across the border to Tanzania.

He said the girls had, together with education stakeholders, resolved to keep monitoring each other until they all complete primary school. "They have resolved to apply the same method to protect any girl who drops out of school due to early marriage or FGM," said Sengeny. The area education officer Ambolwa Obiri said there was a growing trend in the area where women organised for their daughters' early marriages without involving their husbands.  “They organise for their daughters to become pregnant with the man oftheir choice that eventually leads to marriage,” said Obiri.  Obiri said many people willing to sponsor the girls in school had been put off by the high dropout rate