Ending child marriage in Zimbabwe with the help of taekwondo – world peace organization

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Child marriage is a critical issue around the world. Due to the economic effects of COVID-19, the organization Save The Children said about 500,000 girls were at risk of being forced into marrying children. In Zimbabwe, child marriage is rife and the United Nations has issued a statement saying that one in three girls is married before the age of 18. However, the martial art of Taekwondo helps girls who hope to escape forced marriage at a young age. grow old and look for a better future. Al Jazeera reports how Lisa Nyambupu, 17, from Epworth, a densely populated suburb southeast of Zimbabwe’s capital, constantly watched her friends marry at a young age. Since she started practicing taekwondo, she has learned discipline, self-defense, and developed the motivation and inspiration to struggle in life. She now sees a better future for herself and her friends.

Nyambupu decided to join a Taekwondo training course offered by Natsiraishe Maritsa, a girl in her class. “[A]All the while, I thought there was nothing wrong with getting married early, ”she told Al Jazeera. “[I]It was at this forum that I learned that this is in fact a bad practice that should not be encouraged. In addition, Kimberly Mupambawatyi, who has been part of the Maritsa taekwondo course since 2020, said perpetrators of child marriages, including parents and legal guardians, should face legal consequences. “[M]most of us girls marry early to escape poverty. But I understood that poverty can still follow you to your husband. It is important for us to make our dreams come true first, ”said the 13-year-old. The UN has addressed the issue on several occasions, saying that a key instrument to end child marriage in Zimbabwe is to speed up the passage of the Marriage Bill. It recognizes child marriage as a crime and rolls out a national action plan to end child marriage.

Help girls find motivation and confidence is a step in the right direction, but legislative measures must also be taken. Zimbabwe’s Minister of Women’s Affairs, Sithembiso Nyoni, said aligning the country’s marriage laws with the constitution will allow the police and the judiciary to hold perpetrators and facilitators of child marriage accountable. This is an important start for the process of ending child marriage and protecting the future of young girls in Zimbabwe. The prevalence of this practice prompted Maritsa to launch the 2018 Vulnerable Underaged People’s Auditorium initiative. The teenager has since trained dozens of girls and early marriage survivors. The practice of Taekwondo has had a positive effect on the mental and physical health of girls, contributing to a safer environment in which they can grow up.

Despite the Constitutional Court banning an article in the marriage law in 2016, which allowed adolescents to marry before their 18th birthday, child marriage remains widespread. Zimbabwe’s laws are failing its people, and the country still lacks legislation explicitly prohibiting child marriage. The Constitution stipulates that a person can marry at the age of 18 while the Marriage Law sets the age of marriage at 16, which has created major problems. Al Jazeera reports that an amendment to the 2017 Marriage Bill seeks to align inconsistencies in current marriage law with the constitution. Fadzai Ruzive, Legal Officer for Women and Law in Southern Africa, stresses the importance of enacting the bill as it criminalizes child marriage. The legislative process is not as simple as a simple question. It is dynamic, constantly evolving and it is necessary to balance the interests of the different stakeholders, to come up with solid legislation.

This problem requires an immediate response and we must take responsibility for raising awareness and bringing together resources on how to support communities in need. It is essential to fight against impunity and to guarantee justice. Taekwondo is a way to create a safe space for girls, to educate them in self defense and to build their confidence. Nyambupu emphasizes the positive impact sport has had on her life, and she hopes to get the message out to girls across the country. “I hope Taekwondo will change my life. I dream of traveling across borders to participate in regional and international competitions like the Olympic Games. Since stepping onto the Taekwondo mat, she understands that her future will not be determined by marriage and has never looked back.


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