I arrived in Kaoma at approximately three o’clock Friday afternoon, March 4th. Our project coordinator, Maggie, was preoccupied.
One of our scholarship students had not been in class or seen for the previous three days. There had been some resistance when this girl had first obtained a scholarship from WISE – some members of her family had already chosen a husband for her (even though marriage under 18 is illegal in Zambia). In fact, members of the Young Women’s Christian Association had accompanied the young girl when she first left for high school in January of this year.
Two members of the Kaoma WISE Trust board went to the girl’s home village. Sure enough, she was there, with some family members indicating that she would not return to school. After some cajoling (including suggesting the need for possible police intervention), the family relented and the girl returned to school, rather than remain in her village for an arranged marriage.
These are merely some of the challenges Maggie faces every day and, more significantly, the challenges faced by young girls in rural Zambia.