Day of Families to highlight the plight of girls

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bhisho - The Eastern Cape Provincial Government is expected to use International Day of Families to highlight the plight of mothers, young girls and child-headed families.

International Day of Families will be held on Friday under the theme: "Mothers and Families: challenges in a changing world".

MEC for Social Development Nonkosi Mvana is expected to commemorate the day at the Mkhamela informal settlement near Lusikisiki, where there is a high prevalence of young girls between the ages of 12 and 16 being abducted and forced into marriage.

The MEC is expected to deliver a keynote address and raise public awareness on the rights of children as enshrined in the Constitution, according to spokesperson for the department Gcobani Maswana.

Mr Maswana said forced marriage was a great concern for the department. It is imposed on underage girls who are made to believe that this practice is based on culture.

"This practice continues to compromise the development of the girl child and subsequently affects the girl child to suffer from social isolation, deprived of the basic right to education as enshrined in our constitution," Mr Maswana added.

He said that the province was grappling with many family-related challenges and that many women and children were exposed to family violence and abuse by their partners, friends and relatives.

"There has also been an increase in the number of single parents, child-headed households and nuclear families due to a high prevalence of HIV and AIDS. Structural changes in families have leads to weakened traditional and cultural values, the erosion of family relationships and dysfunctionality," he said.