A schoolgirl speaks during the commemoration of the International Girl Child Day in Mingkaman One Primary School on Thursday, October 12, 2023 | Credit | Anyar Kuol/Mingkaman FM
Members of the parent-teacher association (PTA) have advised Awerial schoolgirls against early marital courtship that leads to school dropout.
The remarks came during the commemoration of the International Girl Child Day organized by Women Aid Vision in Mingkaman town on Thursday.
According to the Girls Education South Sudan cash transfer program, 2176 girls that were registered this year for the motivational cash. However, only 1086 girls were found available during the validation of the cash transfer assessment.
Education authorities believe that that the missing schoolgirls might have been married and are now in their new homes as housewives.
Held at Mingkaman One Primary School, the function attracted mostly schoolgirls, county government officials, members of PTA, traditional chiefs, and humanitarian workers.
Speaking during the gathering, Rebecca Aman Abolic, the women representative says early attachment of girls contribute to early pregnancy that affect learning.
“We want you to learn so that your live a better life in future compared to how we live now. You can only achieve that when you stop engaging with men,” Aman stated.
“I am advising you girls to remain committed to your vision of learning. Stop attaching yourselves to men at early age. This is where your education is cut short.”
For her part, Margaret Aluel Bup, education officer for Women Aid Vision, encouraged girls who were married before completing their secondary education to go back to school.
She stated: “There is no limit for education. It has no limit. So, my message to young girls who are married before completing their education is, go back to school you if you have not completed senior four. If you did not reach university, go to university.”
Several reports show that girl children drop out of school in South Sudan due to early child marriage, gender division of labor, and poverty.
They say nearly half of all girls in South Sudan marry before the age of 18. A 2013 report from Human Rights Watch highlights that dowry often leads families to force their girls to marry as early as possible, often after first menstruation.
Experts argue that early and forced marriage has many devastating consequences besides discontinuation of school, including increased girls’ risk of death or complications during pregnancy and childbirth in a country with one of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the world.
On December 19th. 2011, United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 66/170 to declare October 11th the International Day of the Girl Child. To recognize “girl’s rights” and the unique challenges girls face around the world.
This year’s International Day of Girl Child was marked under the theme: “Invest in Girls Rights: Our Leadership, Our Well-being.”