My name is Jenny, I was born in 1998. I finished Primary 7 at the age of 13. I passed exams and I was selected to join secondary school. However, my parents refused to take me to secondary school. When I joined Secondary School my father started to rebuke me, he insisted that there is no advantage of educating a girl child.
He started bringing men at our home and thereafter negotiated mahari (bride price) for me. He forced me into marriage at the age of 14, my husband was 36 years old.
When I arrived at my husband’s house, life was horrible. He always wondered and asked me why I married him, and said that I should go back to my parents. Sometimes I replied to him that he came at our house asking my father for my hand in marriage. He contended that my father needed money, he is a greedy person. My husband has been very violent; I have been regularly brutally beaten.
I became pregnant, but my husband was still very abusive. He said he was not responsible for my pregnancy, that the baby in the womb is not his baby, and I should look for the father. He started saying that he will kill me, and I better go back to my parents. Although I begged him to take care of me until I deliver my baby, he continued to be rude and abusive, especially when he was drunk. He did not care that I was pregnant even when I was feeling sick.
One day he showed me a knife and said, “I am going to have fun if I come back and find you here, I will kill you”. I decided to go back to my parents.
My father was not happy and stated that we should be reconciled because they have paid the mahari (bride price). My husband was called for reconciliation and he argued that I was a liar, my stories are fabrications, he has never mistreated me or done any harm to me, thus we should go home together. I refused. I stayed at home and now I have a baby girl.
One day the Agape Aids Control Programme visited our village to show some educative cinema. I attended the cinema show and I asked the Agape Director to join their Agape Open School (a boarding Qualifying Test Center).
My father refused, but I begged him and reported the matter to the Ward Executive Officer, who supported me. My father did not want to be involved with any school issues such as school contributions even buying uniforms, he did not even give me bus fare to school. I just got a lift from to Shinyanga town. I thank MoMEC for supporting me to continue with my education.
I call upon men to stop child marriage, please do not to marry female children. I also call upon our mothers, parents and guardians to end this custom of marrying off girls. We face a lot of problems and we are abused. Support us to get education.
Married at 14
"I became pregnant but my husband was still very abusive."
"I decided to go back my parents. My father was not happy and stated that we should be reconciled because they have paid the bride price."
"I thank MoMEC for supporting me to continue with my education."
"I call upon men to stop child marriage, please do not marry female children."