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TORIT - 17 Jul 2019

Civil society group uses film to raise awareness on child marriage in Torit

A network of civil society groups in Torit State on Friday used a film to raise public awareness on the dangers of child marriages amongst school-age children.

Entitled, “waja ta Jena”, an Arabic word meaning the pain of a child, the film details the act of early marriage and its dangers in society.

Ohoro Leo Jacob, a civil society activist at Torit Civic Engagement Center in Torit, said early marriage cases amongst girl frequently occur, but are not reported.

He further said films will make girls understand the dangers of early marriages.

“It happens to us here in Torit, but people don’t know. People hide such information and so in this film, we want to tell them that these things happen. The film was acted in Maridi and these are things happening to us here but we are hiding,” said Ohoro.

“This will help those who are pregnant to go back to school”, he added.

Ohoro noted that young girls are deceived by rich men, advising parents to address the needs of their children.

Christine Joseph Makario, a pupil at Christ Bright Academy, said many of her colleagues abandoned school and opted for marriage.

She, however, said marriages make life difficult for the young girls. “Don’t accept marriage at an early stage because sometimes you will not give birth in a healthy way and you can die while giving birth,” stressed Makario.

Mary Paul, a pupil of St. Theresa primary school, urged girls to be patient with the current economic situation and focus on studies.

On her part, Betty Akullu, the education inspector at Torit municipality accused parents of trading their daughters for wealth.

She said government is working with its partners to improve girl’s education by providing funds to cater for their needs while in school.

“We are working hard with some of the NGOs [Non-Governmental Organizations] to help and encourage these ladies to go back to school,” said Akullu.

The numbers of girls in schools have remained lesser due to cultural practices of early marriage, according to the education official.

Article 17 of the South Sudan constitution defines a child as anyone under the age of 18, and further states that the best interests of the child will be protected in all matters related to his or her life, and that they should not be subjected to exploitative practices or abuse.