First International Day of the Girl Child
The International Day of the Girl Child is held on the 11. October, to recognize girls' rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world. This year the focus is on ending child marriage, which is a fundamental human rights violation.
Globally, around one in three young women aged 20-24 were first married before they reached the age of 18. Child marriages results in early and unwanted pregnancies which pose life-threatening risks for girls, school dropouts, and increases the risk for violence and abuse. Also Dorcas faces such problems in its projects.
Escape of poverty
In Egypt, early marriages for girls are an important way to secure a girls' well-being. Families perceive this as the best way to safeguard girls' futures and to lighten the economic burden of the family. The girls themselves are raised with these norms and believe also that it will improve their economic situation and increase their social status. As a consequence of the early marriages, many girls end school early. Dorcas stimulates girls and their families to delay marriage and instead complete their education. This is done through satisfying the basic needs of the girls, including school fees and materials, psycho-social support. Besides that, families and girls are consulted about the importance of continuing education and the risks of early marriage.
Ending gender-based violence
Marriage can bring along new problems, such as gender-based violence. Many women in Inhaminga, Mozambique, are illiterate and vulnerable for domestic violence. Educational campaigns, workshops, home visits and counselling sessions are organized for the youth and the parents to create awareness and curb domestic violence and early marriages. Government social workers and local pastors are involved in these activities. Blessing Njopera, Dorcas' country director in Mozambique, tells: ‘Many people have now shun domestic violence and more girls attend school up to grade 10.'