Gasilda is an 11-year-old Mozambican girl who is already pregnant by her 70-year old husband. Her story is horrific, but it must be told. Consider if she was your child. What if your poverty forced you to a similar choice? Maybe such choices do not happen in America, but should we ignore them only because they are thousands of miles away?
In her own words:
My name is Gasilda, I am 11 years old. Since 2017, I have lived a miserable life. I was born in a rural area and to a poor family, far from everything and everyone. From an early age, I have been surrounded by people who show little interest in my future. Every day, I wake up early and I walk long distances to look for water and serve my parents. I do all the domestic work and go to the farm. I have never been to school and never have free time to play with other children and friends. At my parents’ house, we are neighbors to a 70-year-old man. This man always came to my parents’ house to converse with my father and when he left, he called me “mwaraka” which means “my wife”. On Christmas Eve 2017, he brought a goat and gave it to my father to celebrate Christmas. As he was leaving, he approached me, held my hand, and said, ‘let us go my wife!’. However, I thought he was joking, not knowing that I had been traded for a goat. I couldn’t understand what was happening! On the very same night, that 70-year-old man, took me as his wife and violated my purity. So, I became a subject of exchange by a goat. Today, I am 11 years old and 7 months pregnant! What shame! Besides myself, there are many young girls who suffer from these kinds of brutal practices of material exchange in which the parents or guardians benefit at the detriment of their young girls, in my community as well as the entire country of Mozambique. This macabre act ends up eliminating our hope of one day becoming happy women. As a Mozambican girl, I feel that we (girls) end up without choice. We have no one to help us!”-Gasilda, age 11
Today, Gasilda is being helped by one of our trainee’s organizations, Seed of Hope, in Mozambique. They support her, love her, and help her gain job skills so that her future family won’t be in such dire poverty and facing such terrible circumstances. To learn more about Seed of Hope in Mozambique, check out their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/seed.of.hope.mozambique
-Elaine, Executive Director