• Women
  • February 17, 2010
  • 3 minutes read

Egypt fights underage marriage and school dropouts

Egypt fights underage marriage and school dropouts

 CAIRO: The Egyptian Minister of State for Family and Population, Moshira Khattab, recently confirmed during the signing of a new protocol that there was an increase in the number of births recorded in the third quarter of 2009 compared to the same quarter of 2008, with a change of 0.3 percent. She said that the customary, illegal, marriages contributed to the increase in population overgrowth, since this type of marriage “contributes to the existence of street children and child labor, which increases the burden of population issues. Moreover a circumvention of the law is necessary where the contract is ratified and then to marry the girl after reaching the specified age,” the minister said adding that “this in turn increases the mortality rate for both mothers and children”

Khattab explained that the most important reasons for customary marriage is to avoid the conditions of the legal age for marriages, which in Egypt is 18-years and the financial status of the families of these girls. She called on the families of these young girls who marry their daughters off to foreigners, Westerners or Arabs, in return for receiving money, “to protect their daughters and refrain from marrying them off for money and at this early age.”

She added that if they are in great need for money, they can resort to the ministry, which would try to provide them their basic needs, revealing that there are some Egyptian businessmen who “are ready and willing to provide financial aid to such families.”

Khattab pointed out that fighting against school dropouts is one of the effective ways to eliminate many of the problems that Egyptian society faces, such as child labor, street children and underage marriage. “This is aimed at improving the lives  for families and their children,” she said.

She added that the ministry introduced the awareness issue of overpopulation in all of its programs and projects being implemented currently in areas where the initiative of teaching young girls is being implemented and educating the targeted groups of the seriousness of the increase of population, ill health and how to prevent diseases.