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Each year, on October 11th, ChildHope and partners celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child. The day promotes girls' human rights, highlights gender inequalities that remain between girls and boys and addresses the various forms of discrimination and abuse suffered by girls around the world. This year's theme is 'the power of the Adolescent Girl: Vision for 2030'.

ChildHope's partner, Pendekezo Letu, works with girls living and working on the streets & rubbish dumps of Nairobi. The programme provides 100 girls per year with a ten-month residential rehabilitation programme and then safely reintegrates them back with their families, communities and into mainstream education. This year, the girls at Pendekezo Letu's rehabilitation centre are joining in the celebration of the International Day of the Girl Child, and have written this poem about an issue that affects them greatly: Child marriage.

SHATTERED DREAMS

We the African children tools of early marriage, the victims of early marriage. We need to expose this harsh reality, on the hills of our society. We are pushed into early marriages, our destiny is a calamity.

Shattered dreams, Shattered hopes And shattered future Oooh! Say NO! To early marriages

We the African children, we are denied our education and pushed into early marriages, Without minding our tender age, we are forced into early marriages. But do you know that we have our dreams, Mmmh½. Sweet dreams so wonderful and colourful. A future doctor of great fame, a future engineer with a great name, a future pilot with a great vision. But Alas! We are pushed into early marriages, our dreams never come to reality. Oooh! Say NO! To early marriage.

Shattered dreams, Shattered hopes And shattered future Oooh! Say NO! To early marriages 

We the African children, we are denied our rights and forced into child marriage. And because we are children, we are forced into child labour and become school drop outs.

Shattered dreams, Shattered hopes And shattered future Oooh! Say NO! To early marriages 

We the African children, we are denied our protection and forced into frustration. Because of economic situations we are forced into early marriages that may end up to diseases and death. Parents, communities and governments, why!? Why me? Please rescue we the African girl child. Nauliza tena, ndoa za pesa nane zitaisha lini (We ask again, when will this cheap tendency be stopped!?) 

Shattered dreams, Shattered hopes And shattered future Oooh! Say NO! To early marriages

ChildHope would like to thank the girls at the Pendekezo Centre for sharing this powerful poem.

Pendekezo Letu

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