Samples Relationships Child Marriage in Ethiopia

Child Marriage in Ethiopia

675 words 3 page(s)

I have decided to use this opportunity to speak against child marriage, particularly in impoverished African countries like Ethiopia where it is a norm rather than an exception. We are the outcomes of our experiences/observations and sometimes these experiences/observations are so intense they even determine the future course of our lives. We need to end child marriage because they not only harm the wellbeing of the young girls who are forced into child marriages but also the overall interests of the society.

I was born and grew up in Ethiopia and while I was fortunate enough to enjoy a healthy childhood, many of my school friends were not so lucky. Many of my friends in grade schools were taken out of school, only to be forcibly married to men two or three times their age. They became mothers to children while they were already child themselves. The child marriage system treats women as nothing but personal properties who could be married any time and to anyone, without any regard to their own wishes and desires. Some of my friends enjoyed getting education because it made them feel in control of their destiny and little did they know that the society would do anything to keep them suppressed.

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Child marriage didn’t only ruin healthy development of my friends but also their development as young adults. Years later when I met them, some of them had lost the will to enjoy life because the society had already decided the roles they could and could not play. Child marriages prevent the victims from experiencing the real world as well as discover their true passion and talent. The victims also suffer from psychological scars because child marriages are often characterized by marital rapes, with no regard for the emotional and physical wellbeing of the women. Husband is considered an absolute authority in Ethiopia and other impoverished African countries and the wife doesn’t even possess the right to question or complain.

I have always believed a society cannot progress without improving the rights of women and billions of dollars of financial aid has done little to change economic and social well being an average citizen of most African countries. The positive changes will not be brought by the external players but will only occur by improving the rights of an average citizen, particularly women. Adverse life experiences sometimes provide the kind of motivation to people nothing else can provide. African women have been through a lot including the child marriage curse. Child marriage breaks one’s spirit even before they have had the opportunity to fight back, thus, I do not only want to raise awareness about child marriage but also hope to work towards eliminating it from Ethiopia and other African countries.

Ethiopian society will not improve overnight but eliminating child marriage will go a long way towards improving the social and economic status of an average citizen in the society. By eliminating child marriage, we will enable more women to get education and help change social values by starting from their own families. Rationale doesn’t always work in which case examples are the only option left. Once educated women start making differences in the society, it will inspire the whole society to eliminate centuries old traditions that have kept Africa far behind the rest of the world. Africa has always been rich in natural resources but no amount of wealth is sufficient to change the fate of the society if its citizens do not have access to even the most basic human rights including the right to dignity and education.

I hope my project will also inspire my friends in the west and help them understand that the key to changing Africa is not financial aid but changing social and cultural values that keep the society behind. Child labor is one of the most deplorable crimes against humanity and should be eliminated to not only advance women rights in Africa but also help the continent realize the true potential of its human capital.