Mairamou's story was kindly shared by our member Association de Lutte contre les Violences faites aux Femmes (ALVF).
When she was 12 years old, Mairamou was sent to marry her father's friend, who was in his late forties at the time. Her husband mistreated and neglected her but she had been taught to obey her father and then her husband so she stayed.
Then she met Germaine, the director for the Centre Vie de Femme at ALVF Extreme North and she secretly started going to meetings at ALVF with other young women in similar circumstances to learn about her rights as a woman.
One day when her husband was out of town on business, she saw her opportunity to escape. She traveled far away from Maroua to live in hiding for two months. When she returned to her parents’ home to explain the situation, her family rejected her and told her to go back to her husband.
She and several other survivors of early and forced marriage were learning basic skills to carry out income-generating activities and earn their own money with the help of ALVF.
At first, her father was reluctant to accept her back into the family, but with the support of her peers at APAD, her parents accepted her. Now, her parents are very supportive of Mairamou and her work with APAD.
In the time it has taken to read this article 14 girls under the age of 18 have been married
Each year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18
That is 23 girls every minute
Nearly 1 every 3 seconds