Chenai is a 17-year old from Zimbabwe who was married to a much older man when she was just 14 and became a mother at 16. With the support of SAT partner, Chiedza Community Welfare Trust, Chenai was able to access the health services she needed and return to school.
“I am a girl from the Apostolic Sect. My father forced me to marry a 65 year-old man when l was 14. The man had five wives and I became his sixth wife. At my first pregnancy I gave birth to a still born baby. At sixteen l had another pregnancy and during my pregnancy l heard about the SAT-supported Chiedza mobile outreach clinic. So I silently went there without my husband’s knowledge and then l was registered for ante-natal care.”
“Chiedza outreach staff stood by me untill l delivered my child at a health facility to avoid home delivery. The staff then informed me about contraceptive methods and l gladly took the long-term method. I didn’t think there was anything wrong being married young as this was part of our church culture but Chiedza made me realize that l have been in a child marriage.”
“I now have a healthy baby and have decided to go back to school. My parents were educated on child marriages and agreed to take me back home and back to school.”
“The most significant change for me is going back to school. I am now aiming for greater things to come. I also have access to family planning and finally am looking forward to a brighter future.”
“This change is most significant to the Apostolic Sect because a lot of girls are falling in the same trap as l did. I wish for them to grow older and become better persons than having early child marriages. I am a hubster at the Chiedza – SAT Satelite Youth Hub and I am teaching adolescent girls from the church on the effects of early child marriages and using my life experiences that have changed me positively.”
Names have been changed to protect identity. Photograph is stock.