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Girls' Issues in Rural Zambia

In rural Zambia girls face many problems that put their health at risk and prevent them from getting a good education. And without an education they are unable to lift themselves, or their families, out of poverty.  This cycle of poverty starts early and girls are most vulnerable during adolescence.  Born into poor families many girls fail to stay in school; many are tempted to have sex for money -  just to survive or buy simple things, like a pen for school; or are married as early as 13 or 14 because their family cannot afford to feed them.  By their late teens they often have children, no husband and may have an STD or AIDS.  

               
 
So what are these issues and problems? 
 
When we talk of families in rural Zambia we include the extended family where an uncle or aunt may have taken in children belonging to a brother or sister; or a widowed grandmother, on little or no income, caring for her deceased children’s children; or even child headed families where there is no adult at all. So when we look at the problems facing girls we must also look behind the scenes at their homelife and background.
 
Girls in rural areas may face early marriage; physical, sexual or mental abuse; early pregnancy; defilement or rape. Orphan girls living with the extended family are sometimes treated little better than servants and may not be able to attend even primary school for a basic education.
 
Poor families are more likely to educate a son rather than a daughter and, along with teachers and the community members often beleive that girls are unlikely to do well. Added together all these issues cause many girls to suffer from low self-esteem.
 

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Menstrual Hygiene Management 
               
 

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