“I fell pregnant at the age of 14 and was forced to quit school and get married. Now my life is like a prison. But luckily, my husband picks oranges on a farm in South Africa instead of poaching.
Many girls here have lost their husbands who were rhino poachers. Their lives are even harder than mine,” says Ana, 16, from a village near Limpopo National Park in Mozambique.”
“I loved school! My favourite subjects were maths, English and Portuguese. Of course I helped out at home, but I also had time to be with my friends. We often did our homework together.
My life changed completely when I was 14. I got pregnant and had to quit school. According to our tradition, I was regarded as the wife of the man who got me pregnant. I belonged to his family and they didn’t want me to continue with school. I cried, but there was nothing I could say. My role became looking after the baby, my husband and the household.My husband is only 20, and no-one forced me into the relationship at the start. But I was disappointed that he turned out to be the type of husband who makes all the decisions about me. He forced me to quit school and he refuses to let me start again. I know, because I asked recently. I was sad and angry, but the husband decides here, and I have to obey.”
“When I watch my friends going to school while I’m stuck here, it makes me sad,” says Ana.
One of my relatives was shot and killed in South Africa while poaching, and many poachers from this village are in prison. It’s really hard for the families to cope when the husbands disappear. When there’s no money, it’s hard to buy food and pay for the children’s schooling. At least I don’t have that worry. But I think about school every day. It feels like I lost the chance of a good life the day I had to leave school.”