Brigitte, married at the age of 13

On Saturday 30th May we, young reporters accompanied by our mentors, travelled to the village og Kasuku in Kindu where Brigitte lives.

Born in 1998, Brigitte was brought up by her mother and was married in January 2011 to Justin. Brigitte is now 17 and has two children, Justin and Gloire.

When we asked her how it happened, Brigitte explains to us in her own words: “I first gave birth to a child when I was 13 when I was still in my first year of secondary school. And because of my pregnancy, I wasn’t able to finish the school year.

“Justin is about 15 years old and was in his fourth year of secondary school. Some time later, and because he likes to flirt, he left to go to TCHONGA mining centre in Shabunda terriroty in South Kivu province. He only came back in 2014 when I had returned to school. After a while, I became pregnant again. He then left once again and up until today, he has never come back.”

We asked Brigitte about the advantages, if any, and hardships she encounters in her situation. “I didn’t gain anything good out of this, only and especially difficulties. The two pregnancies, medical care for my children when they’re ill, … Put simply, it’s my mother who takes my children and myself in charge.”

On the subject of Brigitte resuming her studies, she tells us: “I will be able to go back to school if I find someone who can take responsibility for me because my mother’s resources are more and more limited.”

We, young reporters from Maniema recommend:

1. To Brigitte’s parents that they do everything they can so that their daughter can finish her studies;

2. To all parents in Maniema Province that they put an end to child marriage and to prioritise all children’s schooling, especially girls’ education;

3. To those in charge of primary and secondary schools that they do not deny the possibility of returning to school to prematurely married children who show their desire to go back;

4. To the political and administrative authorities at all levels that they punish, according to the existing laws, all those behind this sort of crime so that children are given back their legitimate status.

“NO TO CHILD MARRIAGE.”

Photo : UNICEF RDC 2013 Lopez

A joint program of the European Union, the DRC, UNICEF, FAO and the German Cooperation is implemented. This innovative program called Women and Men, let’s progress together has been implemented since 2014 as part of the initiative to fight against gender violence in the DRC through a holistic and sustainable approach.

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Rachel

Rachel a 13 ans et est enfant reporter depuis 2013 à Kindu, la capitale du Maniema. Elle rêve de devenir informaticienne de réseaux, et reste très engagée à la défense des droits des enfants. Son credo « Le mariage précoce, un frein au développent harmonieux des enfants. Combattons-le.

Rachel is 13 and has been a young reporter in Kindu since 2013, Maniema's capital. She dreams of becoming a computer network scientist and is strongly committed to defending children's rights. Her motto: "child marriage hinders children's harmonious development. Let's fight it."

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