A real bargain!

What would you give for $110? The shirt off your back? The shoes on your feet?

How about your adolescent daughter?

In Zambia, this is a common practice. A recent U.N. report on child marriage in Zambia notes that in this area “the incidence of early pregnancy and under-age marriage is estimated at about 70 percent among teenage girls”. This statistic reflects a widespread cultural practice in Zambia of marrying off girls at an early age so that their families can be helped through their dowries.

This practice, however, has serious negative consequences for these girls. The same U.N. report indicates that the school drop-out level is “around 60 percent for girls aged 13 or 14”. It also notes that the husbands of these children are often several years older, and that abuse is common in these situations. Furthermore, a study on maternal deaths in this area found that around 30% involve young children.

For this reason, Family Legacy is committed to programs which will help young girls avoid the fate of early marriage. These programs include:

– Education through our Lifeway Christian Academies (or enrollment in government or private schools). Education empowers girls in a variety of ways and ultimately helps them become more self-sufficient and less dependent on would-be husbands.

– Microloans for the caretakers of these children. (Since the high cost of living in Lusaka often drives families back to the villages where child marriage is more common, microloans can enable them to remain in the city where education and other resources are more readily available.)

– Counseling for caretakers to help them understand the value of education for their girls rather than marriage. In the long run, education can prove to be a significant benefit to both the girls and their families.

Alice is a 14-year-old girl who was facing the imminent prospect of an early marriage because her caretakers could not afford to keep her any longer. However, through the generosity of a sponsor, Alice now lives in a Community Resource Center where she lives and attends school without the threat of being sold into marriage. Her life is on a different trajectory now because of the opportunity provided through her sponsorship.

Although the legal minimum age for marriage in Zambia is 18 (16-17 with parental consent), this law is scarcely followed in practice. Please pray for a change in the cultural norms of Zambia that would allow more young girls the freedom to pursue a life that is not constrained by an early marriage. And please continue to pray for Family Legacy as we reach out to Zambian families to offer them alternatives to child marriages that will empower these girls to live full lives in Christ.

For $110.00 USD, a girl can be sold into marriage any day. For $1.33 USD, she can have food, clothing, and education for a day.

Please take a moment to help these girls live and thrive. Click on the “Zambia” tab above to donate.

(blog reposted from Family Legacy)

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