Epport, imb imbabwe – Growing up in Epworth, a densely populated suburb south of the imb imbabwe’s capital Harara, 17-year-old Lisa Nyambupu would see many of her friends get married at a young age.
It was a future that he also expected for himself. Before the taekwondo mat rose for the first time.
“All along, I thought there was nothing wrong with getting married early,” said Nyambupu, who decided in 2019 to join a taekwondo class offered by another girl his age, Natsirayishe Maritsa. “It was on this forum that I learned that this is actually a bad habit that should not be encouraged.”
He never looked back.
“Taekwondo gives me hope,” said Nyambupu, who weighs in at 45-50 kg. “I learn discipline, self-defense, art motivates me to strive in life.”
Born into a family of five, Nyambupu said a lack of financial support forced him to drop out of school at the age of 13 after his father died.
“She was the breadwinner, my mother could not pay for my school,” he said.
A 2019 to report According to imb imbabwe by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), those left out of school – poor households – are more likely to get married before the age of 18, the legal marriage age in the country, compared to those with higher education.
* Nyasha Tomen, 43, still remembers the emotional abuse she experienced from her in-laws when she was married at the age of 17.
“When my parents found out I was pregnant, they made me run away. My in-laws did not want me to marry their son. “They could not give me food, they gave me derogatory names,” Tomen said.
“Proving them wrong”
One 2019 report published by YO IC NICEF 2019 he said that one in three women (20%) between the ages of 20 and 24 first married or joined before the age of 18.
Child rights activists have warned that child marriage is on the rise due to the coronavirus epidemic, which has left more families in poverty and girls out of school longer.
In: to report Last year, the international charity Save the Children said that about 500,000 other girls around the world were at risk of child marriage violence as a result of the COVID-19 economic downturn.
This figure has grown by 4% year-on-year, in contrast to the progress made in reducing early marriages over the past 25 years.
It was the prevalence of the practice that prompted Taekwondo as Maritsa to launch the Vulnerable Juvenile Audience Initiative in 2018. Since then, the teenager has trained dozens of girls to survive child marriage
“Many of my friends were married before the age of 18. “The future of these girls was robbed while I was watching,” he said. “Some were married by their parents: guardians. I want to change that, “he added.
“Of course, you have to get married after 18 years,” continued Maritsa, the third born in a family of five girls. “But even after reaching the legal age, there is no need to hurry. For girls, what can achieve their dreams is a stable source of income. ”
Inspired by his father, Richard Maritsa, who practiced kyokushin, the full-fledged martial art, the teenager immersed himself in the martial arts world at the age of five. He later focused on taekwondo and continued to compete in national tournaments, winning several awards.
“Taekwondo is dominated by men. Many people think that girls can not survive the pain of taekwondo. “We are proving them wrong,” he said.
“Laws discourage us”
The Imb Imbabwe 2013 Constitution prohibits boys and girls under the age of 18 from marrying, but the country’s marriage laws do not comply with it, resulting in no imb imbabwe legislation that explicitly prohibits child marriage.
Although the Constitutional Court in 2016 passed a section of the marriage law that allowed teens to marry before they were 18, the practice remains widespread.
The amendment to the Marriage Bill, introduced in 2017, aims to define the inconsistencies of the current marriage legislation with the Constitution.
Fadzai Ruzive, a women’s rights lawyer in South Africa, said they were looking forward to the bill as it clearly criminalizes child marriage.
“The Constitution states that a person can get married at the age of 18. The law on criminal law (coding և reform) stipulates that a person can agree to sex at the age of 16. The marriage law sets the age of marriage at 16 years. So when we have laws that do not comply with the Constitution, it creates a lot of problems. “The laws disappoint us,” he said.
Local media LMs reported citing a new government report that stressed that the numbers could be higher as most cases remain unknown.
Kimberly Mupambavati, who has been part of Maritsa Taekwondo class since 2020, said that the perpetrators of child marriage, including parents, legal guardians, should be prosecuted.
“Many of us girls get married early to escape poverty. But I realized that poverty can still take you back to your husband’s house. “It is important for us to be the first to achieve our dreams,” said the 13-year-old.
Worry’s ombabwe’s minister for women’s affairs, Sitembiso Nyon, said the number of children married before the age of 18 was a matter of concern, and that the country’s marriage law would allow the police and judiciary to make juvenile delinquency perpetrators accountable for child marriage.
“The Ministry continues to work with our partners in the Ministry of Justice to administer the Marriage Act, as it is currently working on the adoption of the Marriage Bill.” The law-making process is not as simple as the simple question. “The law is dynamic, constantly changing, and there is a need to balance the interests of different stakeholders in order to create a sound legislative act,” he said.
In August 2020, in an attempt to stop many girls from dropping out of school to address gender inequality in the classroom, the government outlawed school dropouts for pregnant students.
While at Epport, Nyambupu returned to a taekwondo class after the COVID-19 restrictions were eased in early September. He said he hopes to start a career in the sport.
“I hope taekwondo will change my life. I dream of going across borders to participate in regional and international competitions, such as the Olympics.
“For now, getting married is off my to-do list.”
This story was published with the support of Meditation Africa և yo IC NICEF as part of lsu Beautiful prizes