Teshale Asmamaw was one of the girls from her school, Enebrei Elementary, who was selected to attend JFA-PFE’s training about the harms of child marriage in 2014. She is a resident of Enbesie Sar Midir woreda, East Gojam zone, which was identified as one of the hot spots of child marriage in the Amhara region. This region is considered a strategic area to teach girls about their rights, so that they can defend themselves and other children against this practice. Teshale confirms that the training made a profound impact on her as she managed to stand up against her father when he tried to force her into marriage.
“I told him right there that I will not consent to any such arrangement, and I refused to go to the clinic for the age confirmation examination,” she says. Furthermore, she told one of her teachers, who is also the chairman of the girls club, about the situation so that her parents would not coerce her further into getting married. Besides using the knowledge she received from the training for her own benefit, Teshale has also taught others on the subject. “During the training we were told to spread the awareness about the harmful tradition in our community, so I taught about the subject in churches and community gatherings like “edir,” she says. Teshale is now 17 years old and in the 8th grade with only a year left until she reaches the legal age for marriage. But she says, “I don’t care whether I’m legally fit to marry or not. I have no intention of doing it before I complete school or outside of my consent.”