When is it okay to get married?

Hauwa’s story

When is it okay to get married?

When I was 12 years old my father married me off to Mallam Aminu a wealthy farmer with 3 wives.

I cried almost everyday when I first got married. I missed my family, my friends and school. I couldn’t understand why I had to be here. I was really sad.

My husband stopped me from going to school.

Most days all I had to do was sit at home and take care of the younger children.

I knew I could be much more than just a bride. I asked my husband to allow me learn a trade or a skill. At first he refused but then I begged him. He finally accepted.

I enrolled for a bead making training organized by a Non-governmental organization (NGO) in my community. It was at the training I met other young brides like myself.

They showed us how to start and manage our business after we completed our training. During my training I started to make beads for the children at home and the other wives.

Soon other women started paying me to make beads for them. I didn’t have to depend on my husband for everything anymore.

Today I am 18 years old with a child and a skill that gives me money to support myself and my family.

My husband has asked the other wives to go and learn a trade. He has started encouraging the female children to go back to school.

I might not have been able to say no to marrying early but I have been able to secure a better future for myself and my household. You too can do the same for yourself

Are you feeling pressure to marry? Do you feel like you are not ready? Talk to a trusted adult or your parents about this. Let them know you are not ready. If you’re unsure how to approach them why not try speaking to a close family member or respected elder they trust. They can help you open the discussion with your parents.

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