Abducted school girls undergo counseling in Wa, Ghana

Some 120 school girls who were rescued from abduction and forced marriages in three districts of the Upper West Region have undergone two days of counseling in Wa.

The girls, who have an average age of 16 years, were attending Junior High School in Jirapa, Lambussiue/Karni and Sissala East Districts before they went through their ordeals.

They were either sent into forced marriages by their parents as a result of poverty, abducted by suitors or forced into marriage due to the death of their parents while a few of them were victims of rape forced into marriage.

One of the girls from Sissala East District gave a chilling and traumatic account of how she was given up for marriage so that the cow that was to be obtained as her dowry would be used by her father to pay for her mother’s outstanding bride price.

Mr. George Dery, Programme Manager of ActionAid in the region, said at the beginning of the counseling on Tuesday that the girls were rescued through the vigilance of the Community Based Anti-Violence Teams (COMBAT) which ActionAid established with the support of the Canadian Fund for Local Initiative.

He said it was disheartening to see many young girls’ education being truncated to become child-mothers in this modern age and without the intervention, some of them would never have seen the classroom again.

He advised the girls to forget what they went through and not to allow the bitter experiences to be impediments to their goals in life.

Mr. Dery called on all individuals and organizations that had the welfare of young girls at heart to support ActionAid to come up with sustainable solutions to the problem of abduction and forced marriages in the Region.

Prince Osei-Agyekum, Fundraising and Supporter Care Manager of ActionAid, told the girls that the road to where they want to go in life was not always smooth adding “the only permanent obstacle to your destination is yourself”

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