To curb the menace of child marriages communities must speedily report all cases and protect the girl child from further abuse.
The sentiments came through during the official handover of a low cost girls boarding facility to Sidhakheni High School in Silobela.
Child marriages have become a cause for concern in the country especially in rural communities were girls as young as 16 drop out of school after being married off to men who are 20 years older.
It is such menace that has seen communities in Sidhakeni coming together to build a low cost boarding facility to protect the girl child and ensure they attain quality education and realise their full potential without any interruption.
The facility was built to reduce the distances that girls travel to the nearest secondary school which has been identified as a cause factor for poor results and early marriages leading to increased girls school drop outs.
Officially handing over the girls boarding facility legilsator for Silobela, Engineer Daniel Mackenzie Ncube said child marriages are becoming a threat to the future of the girl child and called for a collective effort within communities if the problem is to be curtailed.
He implored communities to always swiftly report cases of child marriages so that action is taken promptly.
Plan International programmes area manager, Mrs Lainer Madzikiti said the boarding facility will go a long way in assisting girls who were squatting in substandard houses close to school to avoid walking long distances to and from school.
District schools’ inspector Bernard Mazambani also encouraged parents to be proactive in the education of their children and not leave everything in the hands of teachers.
Mazambani also took the opportunity to explain to parents what the new curriculum entails.
The girls boarding facility was built by parents who provided labour and bricks with Plan International donating other building materials while the area legislator installed piped water and a cash donation.
The handover ceremony was held under the theme, “Zero Tolerance to Early Child Marriages and Teen Pregnancies”.