55 girls get education kits against child marriage from activist

A TOTAL of 55 form one pastoral family female students who delayed for three weeks to report to schools in Ngorongoro District, Arusha Region for lacking essential scholastic materials now have a reason to smile, thanks to the support from the girls’ rights champion.

Ms Mesha Singolyo, an activist against child marriage who won the 2022 National Ultimate Award as the champion of change, offered the pastoral girls’ students with mattresses, buckets, counter books, pens, pencils, sanitary pads, among other kits to assist them conforming with the boarding schools condition.

Chairman of the Ngorongoro District Council, Mr Mohamed Bayo who graced the handing over ceremony, commended Ms Singolyo for her incredible support to the helpless girls’ students from poor pastoral communities.

“The support comes at the appropriate time as our young girls have stayed home for three weeks since the schools had opened due to lack of basic scholastic materials to comply with the boarding schools requisite. I can’t thank you enough for your invaluable assistance” Mr Bayo explained.

He said that majority of students have delayed joining schools as their parents are facing economic difficulties, thanks to the drought that wiped-out the livestock population, causing irreparable losses to the pastoral communities who solely depend on their livestock as the source of livelihood.

Mr Bayo pleaded with other well-wishers to emulate Ms Singolyo’s spirit to support the indigenous community, particularly, girls to acquire education.

Handing over the support, Ms Singolyo who is the indigenous daughter said that her support was part of her latest initiatives not only to mitigate the impact of climate change to the pastoral communities, but also to rescue young girls from a risk of being exchanged with livestock in the form of dowry.

“Traditionally girls in pastoral communities are not accorded priorities when it comes to education opportunity, the climate-induced shocks are seriously putting the young girls at the highest risk of being exchanged with cattle or money in the form of dowry in forced marriage arrangement for the family to solve economic difficulties,” Ms Singolyo said.

She added that the severe drought hit hard the livestock population as it had scorched the entire grasses in northern highlands, driving majority of herders to abandon their families and villages in search of green pastures to feed their cattle in the nearby regions.

“The droughts that ravaged much of northern Tanzania killed thousands of livestock, a few people and left many families here devastated and reduced to impoverished families struggling to survive” she said.

Where pastoralists have relied on grassy, arid savannahs for herding animals in the past, these rangelands are now under intense pressure – including the arid and semi-arid band of rangelands stretching from Longido to Ngorongoro District.

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