Monday, 16 April 2012

New young bride: new challenge for ADRA staff

Another more sad day for our staff : another of our students, a 13 years old Xhela got married. When she started attending ADRA’s school, she was very eager to study. At the beginning she didn’t know how to read or write but soon she became one of our most promissing student. There were new improvements every day. She managed to recognized all alphabet letters in two months and the third month she begun writing words and sentances. ADRA staff was very proud of her because she was doing very well. We tried to motivate her and to pay attention to her needs as Xhela doesn’t have a father and her mother is in jail for fraud for 13 years. Xhela is the oldest of three sisters. She used to live with her grand-mother; she had to cook for the whose family and clean the house every single day. A week ago she decided to escape from her house. She fell in love with a seventeen years old boy, who was her neighbor, and wanted to live live with him.
As soon as we learned the news, we went to her new husband’s house to see how she was  doing and to talk with her husband and father in law about the school. We knew we couldn’t do much about the marriage because it was her  own decision to get married. But we needed to do our maximum to keep her coming to school.
We tried to explain her father in law that it was very important for Xhela to come to school and that we would take care of her. Her father in law appreciated what we said to him but he didn’t want to let Xhela come to our classes “ She is a young bride now and she has to clean, wash, cook for us, she doesn’t have time for her self” would be his response. We were shocked and profoundly sad about this as we heard directly what kind of life Xhela will be living from now on. 
In the following days of the 4 days wedding ceremony, we went several time to her family in law’s house. We saw her with her wedding dress, shy, embarrassed and afraid to talk and to behave the same way she did in the reflect school. 
We know that Xhela will not have the same freedom and the same cheerful behavior she used to have but we want to stay by her side and convince her family to let her come to classes.  ADRA staff will continue to visit her house every day, to pay visits and talk to her father in law and husband. We strongly believe that we will convince them about the good opportunities the school can give to Xhela. 
Xhela is the second child bride we have had in our school and we need to work hard in this aspect because we know that they live as slaves, working all day, deprived of their rights, freedom and education. This is a very big challenge but we are determinate to continue working with young girls and women so they can understand that early marriage is a tradition that can be changed for the benefit of all young girls who are still children when they decide to get married: “let girls be girls and not brides”- Desmond Tutu
Concerning early marriages we advise you to watch “Girls not brides: