4 hearing impaired girls rescued from forced marriage

Four hearing impaired girls (names withheld), ages between 13 and 16 years from junior high schools (JHS) have been rescued from forced marriage.

They have returned to the Gbeogo School for the Deaf in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region, to continue with their education.

Two of the victims are from the Builsa North District and the Garu-Tempane in and the Bawku West District.

The rescue exercise which forms part of a two-year “Campaign against Child Marriage and Teenage Pregnancy Project” with funding from UNICEF, aims at rescuing children who are forced into early marriage.

The project began last year in the Builsa South, Builsa North, Talensi, Kassena-Nankana West and Pusiga Districts and it is targeting 173 in JHS.

The Regional Directorate of the Department of Children in collaboration with the Regional Directorate of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) and the Ghana Education Service (GES) are spearheading the project.

This came to light  at a forum organised by the the regional directorates of the Department of Gender and Children in collaboration  with the NCCE and the GES for  school pupils of the Gbeogo School for the Deaf  in the Talensi District on  Saturday .

Speaking at the forum the Regional Director of the Department of Children, Mrs Georgina Aberese-Ako, said the victims were rescued from the forced marriage with the assistance of the officers in charge of Special Needs of Education of the GES.

The Regional Director who attributed this to the sensitisation programme embarked upon in the schools stated that some parents were exploiting the vulnerability of the physically challenged for their selfish gains instead of supporting them to overcome the challenges they faced.

She explained that the stakeholders forum was a follow-up of the “Campaign against Child Marriage and Teenage Pregnancy Project”, noting that the project became necessary because the region had the second highest child marriage rate in the country with 39.2 per cent recorded last year.

She indicated that before the intervention the Regional Directorate of the GES undertook monitoring activities in schools in the region and it was established that 430 girls in both the primary and JHS got pregnant during the period.

“Out of this total figure, 105 were BECE candidates. It is a norm in the region that some parents marry off their pregnant girls to those responsible for the pregnancies. This practice accounted for the high school dropout rate, especially among the girl-child in some districts like the Talensi, Bongo and Builsa,” she said.

The Regional Girl Child Education Officer, Mrs Rose Akanson, entreated the school children to stay away from pre-marital sex and concentrate on their education to enable them to become responsible citizens

Mr James Twene, the acting Regional Director of the Department of Gender, appealed to all stakeholders particularly heads of institutions to use their influence to champion gender empowerment and equality in their respective working environment.

From Samuel Akapule  Tongo(UE)


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