CEBU

Utzurrum: Campaign ending child marriage

The Scene

Education can be translated in many styles and processes. Most academic institutions focus on hard skills like reading, writing and arithmetic, and computer usage. Others develop soft or people skills such as creativity, critical thinking, cooperation or teamwork, including empathy.

However, it is at Childlink Learning Center and High School, where it incorporates all the above skills with emphasis on another: promoting advocacies involving its students in order for them to be aware about social issues in the community.

Regularly, Childllink provides its students with current, relevant social concerns outside the safe bubble of their school and homes with issues like environment protection, cyber bullying, anti-violence against women and children etc.

For March, which is International Women’s Month, the center chose the “Ending Child Marriage” campaign.

Why this particular concern? The Philippines is the 12th country with the highest incidence of child marriages, said Childlink founder and school directress Maria Theresa Tio.

The United Nations Population Fund, in a policy brief released in January last year, found that one out of six Filipino girls get married before they are 18. This translates to 16.5 percent of young women aged 20-24 marrying before they turned 18.

“Child marriages occur in our country too, but students think this is due to early or unplanned pregnancies. Unfortunately, there are other more urgent reasons such as poverty or arranged marriages,” continued Tio.

There was an immediate need, therefore, to inform students what causes child marriages and its impact on society.

To create awareness, the center asked high school students to attend a school-sponsored webinar conducted by Noemi Truya Abarientos from the Children’s Legal Bureau, on the subject of child marriages.

The results were astounding! Read this report from a Grade 10 student’s essay:

“Brides may be girls, but girls are not just brides. They are doctors, lawyers, teachers, engineers, designers, soldiers, students and trailblazers. How could you ever expect girls to build their lives up to only one role? Marriage is a choice not culture. A girl’s childhood is not a preparation to be a mother and wife, instead it is for education to be the person she dreams to be.”

Well said, indeed! Very soon, Childlink will come up with a video on this subject, with data gathered from students’ concepts, which they share.

In closing, Tio reminded all that students at Childlink are totally immersed in community advocacies, not only for awareness, but for involvement as well. By doing these community advocacies, Childlink is fulfilling its role as a “School of Character” in developing caring and responsible individuals.


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