Primary school girls in Kabarole district have added their voices to condemn the rampant cases of violation and abuse of their rights. They revealed that they are being defiled, raped and others denied
chance by their parents to go to school.
This is according to findings in a research carried out by PLATFORM for the NEEDY (PLANE) a Non-Government organization advocating for the
rights of children especially the girl child in Rwenzori region. It indicated that 2-3 girls are defiled and impregnated in atleast every school in one term. The victims are either ignored and dumped by the suspected defilers or forced into early marriage by the parents.
In the Rwenzori Mountainous sub counties of Katebwa, Karangura, Kabonero and Kicwamba our field staff discovered from the children after interviewing them that such cases are common but leaders and parents have not come on board to defend the rights of their children. One of the girls said that girls are intercepted by boda boda riders on their way back home from before enticing them to participate in sexual intercourse, leading to early pregnancies and early marriages.
Despite such cases being reported to the parents and sometimes to teachers, the violation of rights in the said sub counties continues to worry the children and affect their education. Also, the study findings indicate that young girls are denied chance to attend classes and the priority is awarded to boys their
counterparts. Girls also revealed that their parents were denying them luck and those staying with step mothers were being stopped from going to school and take food to markets. At the beginning of first term 2015, boys registered in big numbers at most primary schools with reports saying that girls remain at home to do house work, assist parents in the gardens, acting as baby sitters and others had already dropped out of school to join family formation.
In an interview with some of the teachers, they disclosed that even at school, girls who are allowed to study are given little scholastic materials compared to the boys. A teacher from Kabaate Primary school in Katebwa Sub County said that parents have a tendency of only providing scholastic materials like books, uniform, pens and others to boys than girls. She also said that cultural beliefs among Bakonzo and Bamba tribes on the outskirts of mountain Rwenzori have also hindered the girl child education. “Parents believe that a girl is ready to get married after clocking the age of 12 years and dropping out of school is not a concern in such communities, ” She noted.
One of the parents said that he has 14 children but when asked if they all have good accommodation and all are in class, he disclosed that boys and girls share bedrooms expressing lack of enough funds to build a big house and educate them in good schools.