‘’My father died when I was 11 years. Life got even harder for our family and I stopped going to school’’. It was up to Isatu’s mother to provide for herself and her 4 younger children. “I was supposed to be in school at the time I got married,” Isatu, now 15, continue to tell ChildHelp. “I was 13 years old when I got married to a 47 year old man. They said that the man would take care of me, my siblings, and my mother, due to the poverty levels.”
“I cried because I was too young to get married,” she continued. “I didn’t want to, I didn’t understand the meaning of marriage, I was filled with fear." But Isatu knew that her mother couldn’t afford to feed her, or pay her school fees, and she felt that if she refused to get married, she wouldn’t have anywhere else to go. Up till now, no payment of Dowry has been done, which her mother could use to support the family.
The youth population in Sierra Leone, aged 15-35, comprises one third of the population. 39% of these girls in Sierra Leone are married before their 18th birthday and 13% are married before the age of 15. According to UNICEF, Sierra Leone has the 18th highest prevalence rate of child marriage in the world, and is most common in Port Loko, Kenema, Kono and Tonkolili in Sierra Leone, due extreme poverty, insecurity, lack of skills and suffering. Despite efforts to raise awareness about the devastating consequences of child marriage, the practice remains widespread and affecting countless girls, depriving them of their right to childhood and the opportunity to determine their own futures, and exposing them to serious health risks.
A quantum of change is coming. Companies to tech firms, business leaders and entrepreneurs are struggling with an enormous labour shortage. ChildHelp and partners have developed innovative activity, to fill this gap with skills for young mothers (marriage girls), whilst addressing the harmful problem with disseminated crucial information to prevent and end child marriage, through awareness raising, educational talks in inter-village and school meetings.
To solve some of the most pressing issues of today, we need to build a strong foundation for the new skills economy, invest in our young mothers and support skill training for our talented workforce. This will give young mothers POWER, to regain their rights and change their communities. Good quality, broad -based and market responsive technical and vocational education, will equip them with the skills and competencies, which can immediately respond to labor market demands and drive growth in post-industrial economies.
Young mothers (marriage girls/Child brides), will be rescued, accommodated, trained and equipped into groups of different trade skills, that can help them set up livelihoods, earn revenues and gain financial autonomy. At the end of the training, each group will be provided with leadership skills, trust and reliability, cooperate and network with local and international organizations, and have survival mindset development.seed money, business legal documents, registered and licensed, bank accounts opened, official space and website provided. Established groups, companies, hotels, development agencies and other for-profit bodies in need of supply will be involved and engaged.
This innovative skills training can save and improve their lives, lead them to more equitable development, stronger families and better health. It promotes social and economic justice, participation and ownership and take positive control of their own lives and on bigger dreams.
Your donation of any amount, can change the lives of these countless rural young mothers, giving them economic justice POWER to have one Voice and a better future. Your donation can have a real, lasting impact and gives young mothers brighter future! Together, we can end early child marriage.
How can you help us?
1. Our first phase:
We need a Donation of $5,000, to repair two buildings, for safe home and training purposes for 50 young girls.
2. The Whole Project:
The total project budget needed is USD$ 20,000 - to renovate all structures, accommodate, train, equip and provide start-up kits and funds to 16 groups of 400 young mothers for economical skills empowerment.
Optional Support - You can donate any of the below items
1. Solar power supplies for the use of electrical items and computers on daily basis that using generator
2. Provision of a mini-bus for outreaches and field research for students
Any other information
A sustainability and Cost recovery strategies is in place and a system of management and administration is in place. The initiation of this project is due to a market-scan assessment, determining the financial feasibility and sustainability of the project. The learning center will be based on counselling, mentorship, leadership, industry responsive curriculum and focused internships, with verbal commitments from business and industrial companies.
Throughout generation, girls and women play very important role as the real source of happiness in the family, society and country. The Sustainable Development Goals - SDGs, accepts environmental protection, social and economic development, and believed that, the full participation of both men and women is critical for development.
THE WORK SO FAR!
Meetings, contracting workers and signing of MoU, Purchasing and Marketing of building materials still going supported. Organised a Universal Health Day 2030 (12th Dec, involving the Empower Girls team. Still need more funds to start full operation.
Thank you note:
Thanks to all our fine sponsors - the Anne Frank Fonds, Girls Not Brides, John Nadolski, Grace Brandt, The Webb Family and LeRoy Lyons, Lauren, Kara, etc. for supporting this initiative to end child marriage through this Special School. Be part of this moves to make it happen.
We are all responsible to the communities in which we live and work, and to the world community as well. So be Part to day of this vision.