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April 4, 2016 By Elizabeth Share
Thanks to Huffington Post, I have a new hero. Theresa Kachindamoto, senior chief in the Dedza District in Central Malawi made 50 of her sub-chiefs sign an agreement to end child marriage in her area of authority. She also made the leaders annul any existing underage unions, and send all of the children involved back to school. Last year, Malawi’s parliament passed a law forbidding marriage before the age of 18. But under customary law of the traditional authorities, and the constitution, Malawian children can still marry with parental consent, and 1 in 2 girls in the country is married before she is 18. As in many nations, impoverished parents marry off their young daughters in exchange for a dowry and see no alternative to doing so. “I talk to the parents,” Kachindamoto said to U.N. Women last year. “I tell them: if you educate your girls you will have everything in the future.” Over the past three years, Kachindamoto has annulled close to 850 marriages. Hers is a beautiful example of changing the world by acting where you can–with as much conviction and power as you can muster.