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Two sisters, two different paths: Early marriage in Ghana

This story was kindly shared by our member CAMFED.

“Sisters” is the story of Zulie and her 14-year-old sister, Afisha, whose father promised her in marriage to an older man when he could no longer afford to send her to school.

“I’m telling you my sister’s story because it’s something that I’ve been worried about. Her favourite subject is maths. She was 14 years old when a man came to see my father. He offered my father cola nuts and 60 cedis ($40) to marry my sister. My father agreed because he doesn’t have the money to send us to school. Now my sister just sits and waits for the day she’s going to marry.”

21% of girls in Ghana are married before they are 18. A lack of education often plays a significant factor in girls marrying at such an early age. According to UNFPA, 47% of girls with no education are married before 18, compared to only 15% of girls who have attended secondary school.

“The man she is getting married to is not educated,” worries Zulie. “She will have children and will not be able to take care of them. And they won’t be educated. She knows that she will suffer and become old before her time.”

Zulie was more fortunate than her sister. Thanks to CAMFED, her father was able to pay for her school fees and let her continue her studies. Education is one of the most effective ways to prevent girls from an early marriage. The longer Zulie stays in school, the better: when girls are able to stay in secondary school they marry later and are less likely to have children in their teenage years.

About “Sisters”

Sisters is part of CAMFED’s ‘Every Child Belongs in School’ series, which aims to raise awareness of the fact that millions of children are deprived of an education and seeks to raise money to support vulnerable children on their way back to school.

Find out more about CAMFED’s work on child marriage.