But her sister Mercy was not so lucky.
When only 11, Mercy got pregnant during a traditional sexual “cleansing ceremony” that is intended to prepare pubescent girls for womanhood and marriage. Mercy was forced to marry the man who impregnated her, but the marriage didn’t last. Nor did the next one. Now 16, Mercy already has three children and little education, her dreams of becoming a teacher put on hold.
A few years ago, Memory encountered Girls Empowerment Network, a Malawi-based NGO that had been trying for years to get lawmakers to address the issue of child marriage. Only a teenager herself, Memory could get other girls in her village to open up. The group’s writing workshops resulted in a remarkable set of testimonials called “I Will Marry When I Want To!” Memory and the group brought a crucial perspective to Malawi’s debate over child marriage: that of children themselves."
Read article by Joyce Hackel from PRI.