The Yendi Child and Vulnerable Protection Centre under the Yendi Diocese of the Catholic Church in the Northern Region has rescued and reunited a victim of forced marriage to her family at Sunkpendi in the Chereponi District of the North East Region.
The victim, Aisha Hudu, aged 20, who dropped out of school, told journalists at Sunkpendi that she was forced by her parents to marry a man who was much older than her and already married to other women.
She said she objected to her parents’ decision to marry the said elderly man, which resulted in constant threats and emotional abuse from her parents.
She said, ‘I resisted their opinion and escaped at night amidst rain, crossing streams with water at my chest level. I got to the nearest community and was helped to reach the Catholic Mission House at Chereponi for refuge.’
Reverend Father Gregory Dery, the Director of the Yendi Child and Vulnerable Protection Centre, said the Centre decided to collaborate with the necessary stakeholders to ensure that the safety and wellbeing of Aisha was guaranteed.
He said Aisha, before being brought to the Centre, was months pregnant with a teacher in the community, who she wished to marry.
He said, ‘We immediately made provision for her to attend her first antenatal care, and provided all her medical and other basic needs to ensure she was comfortable enough.’
Reverend Father Dery said after series of negotiations with the parties involved, the Centre decided to reunite the victim with her family based on the assurance that she would not be forced into marriage.
He said, ‘As a Priest and a Lawyer, I believe that Aisha has the right to make her choice, and that should be respected by her family.’
Mr Alhassan Abdul-Ganiu, the Assembly Member of the Wenchiki Electoral Area in the Chereponi District, who accompanied Rev. Fr. Dery to hand over the victim to her parents, pledged to collaborate with the Centre and the families involved to ensure her safety.
With funding support from Kindermissionwerk, a German Catholic funding agency, the Yendi Child and Vulnerable Protection Project was launched in early 2022 to create awareness on child abuse and its impact on the development of children.
The project targeted an estimated 2,250 vulnerable children in 13 basic schools within the Diocese in its first phase of two years.
Source: Ghana News Agency