Food for Brides; starvation in kenya, africa
this is a report world vision issued today:
Ruth Nthambi is a delighted recipient of maize provided at a World Vision food distribution in Kenya. Photo by Kari Costanza. Drought-fueled poverty is compelling children to drop out of school and forcing young girls into unwanted, early marriage, according to World Vision relief staff.
Field Officer Abraham Losinyen, who oversees food distribution in eastern Kenya's Makueni district, said the practice was often a family's last resort in a desperate situation.
"Many families have to marry off their young daughters to people who can give them food. It's a trend that will likely increase as long as the crisis becomes bigger and bigger," he reports.
Staff in the area estimate as many as one in 10 families will have a girl who weds early because of the drought.
Among those feeling the pressure is mother Ruth Nthambi. Her youngest children already display the orange-tinged hair of the undernourished, and lack of food and cash is keeping them out of school.
Nthambi said it was becoming more and more tempting to send her 10-year-old daughter Kathina to Nairobi to work, or find someone to marry her.
Three years ago Nthambi had sent another daughter to Nairobi during difficult times. She ended up marrying a gas station attendant when she was 14 years old, much to her mother's dismay.
"Obviously, I'm sure the same thing will happen if I don't get some money," Nthambi says. "I am not happy, but there's nothing I can do about it."
Her daughter Kathina says she wants to continue her schooling and eventually become a teacher but worries the drought may rob her of that opportunity.
"Early marriage is bad. It's bad because children should go to school," she says.
Nthambi's mood improved a few hours later when she benefited from a World Vision food distribution, where she was able to collect a maize ration for each member of her family.
"Now the children will have something to eat. Because of the food distribution the children can go to school," she expresses with joy.
About 14 million people are suffering from hunger in East Africa, chiefly due to drought. World Vision is conducting extensive relief operations throughout the region.
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*see the full report and links on http://www.worldvision.org/about_us.nsf/child/eNews_kenya_051606?OpenDocument&campaign=1265397&cmp=EMC-1265397