Theresa Kachindamoto recently became the unexpected female chief of an area of Malawi, Africa. The youngest daughter of a previous chief, she moved to another town and was a secretary for 27 years. However, her sense and kindness in everyday life caused people to vote for her when the time came. She was surprised by the vote, but is using her new power for good.
The youngest of 12, Kachindamoto is now the chief of Monkey Bay, Malawi. Her first act was to annul 850 child marriages. Child marriage was made illegal in Malawi in 2015, but many families still practise it. This is due to the fact that it is allowed with parental permission. Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world, and many families allow their child to marry older men purely because they can’t afford to keep them. They feel they have no choice, and would prefer their daughter to be alive, even if it means she is married at an age as young as 12.
A UN study found that over half of the country’s girls were married before the age of 18. Many young girls are forced to give birth in these marriages, which can lead to many complications because of their small bodies.
Taking A Stand
However, female chief Kachindamoto has taken a hard stance on the practise. As well as anulling 850 marriages, she has sent these girls to school. There, they can be educated and live their childhood normally. Knowing not everyone would agree to changing the tradition, she changed the law instead. She even fired four sub-chiefs who refused to annul marriages and ban the practise.
When faced with death threats, she is undeterred. “I don’t care, I don’t mind. I’ve said whatever, we can talk, but these girls will go back to school,” she said. She even pays the fees for some students whose families can’t afford school.
What an incredible woman making positive changes to her community. Let us know what you think in the comments, and share with your friends and family to spread the important message!