Iganga- The Federation of Women Lawyers, Fida, has rescued at least 52 underage girls from early marriages in Iganga District over the last 12 months.
The programme officer of Fida, Iganga branch, Ms Victoria Bwenene, said the girls aged between 13 and 17 years, come from Buyanga, Nabitende and Makuutu sub-counties.
Ms Bwenene, who was speaking during celebrations to mark the Day of the African Child at Itanda Secondary School in Nabitende Sub-county last Friday, said the girls had been forced out of school to get married.
According to Ms Bwenene, while there were cases where some of the girls had been forced to get married as a result of harassment from their guardians, the majority of them are married off by their parents to get bride price.
“We got information from our community volunteers and together with police, managed to rescue these girls. We have helped take them back to school,” Ms Bwenene said.
“Cases of a similar nature could be going unreported in other sub-counties,” she added. The girls are sent to vocational schools to train in catering, tailoring and hairdressing with the help of a Dutch NGO, Terresdes Hommes.
Other parents, Ms Bwenene said, fail to send their daughters back to school even after they had been rescued.
“Upon rescuing the girls, parents are sensitised about the value of education but due to poverty, cases of school dropouts remain high,” she said.