By CHIPEMA SAKAIMBO
AFIFTEEN-YEAR-OLD boy of Choma has been extracted from what an NGO says was an early-marriage arrangement in which he played the husband of a much older woman who had taken him off the streets.
Compassion Mission Zambia (MCZ) Executive Director Genious Musokotwane described the case as a rare one, noting that the classic early-marriage case was girls getting married to older men.
The case happened in Chief Cooma’s chiefdom in Choma district.
The boy, said to be an orphan, is said to have been taken in by a relative from Chongwe District to Choma so he could be enrolled in school but that never happened.
Instead, he stayed home and was so badly mistreated that he was forced to leave and ended up homeless.
It was during this period that a woman posing as a Good Samaritan took him in, ostensibly to shelter him.
Mr Musokotwane said because of his vulnerability his organisation came to his aid as the boy was at risk of child marriage.
He said the organisation was trying to locate the boy’s relatives in Chongwe in the hope that he be enrolled back in school and be provided with a safe and better home.
“We believe boys too deserve the similar aid we are providing the girl-child. We have plans to also empower this boy but it will be outside the organisation facility,” said Mr Musokotwane
Meanwhile, Chief Cooma has commended Musokotwane Compassion Mission Zambia for its continuing efforts to end the practice of early child marriage in his chiefdom.
“Continue to help our chiefdom’s children, they are a lot of cases here and we are leaving no child marriage case unreported,” said Chief Cooma.
Chief Cooma has been instrumental in the organisation’s retrieval of over sixteen (16) girls in the year 2017.
Meanwhile, as part of its programme to mark the 16 Days of Activism Against GBV, MCMZ has come to the aid of an 18-year-old girl of Sinazeze village in Sinazongwe district.
Her plight was brought to the attention of the NGO by neighbours who had witnessed her suffering at the hands of a violent husband for over a year. The girl is said to have been married before the legal age.
The MCMZ rescued her from the marriage and taking her case to the department of social welfare and there are now plans to have her back in school.
Mr Musokotwane commended members of the public in Sinazeze Village for rising up against early child marriage and violence against women.
He said early child marriages were not only a violation against children’s rights but also disrupted any meaningful developmental agenda of a community.
Mr Musokotwane added that MCMZ will continue to support girls at risk or retrieved from child marriage in order for them to realise their full potential and contribute positively to national development.
“We are committed as an organisation to supporting these girls and provide them with a platform that enables them to survive, thrive and contribute to their personal and national development,” he said.