Meet Paramount Chief Theresa Kachindamoto, the terminator of child marriage in central Malawi’s Dedza district.
Starfish Foundation had the privilege to meet Chief Theresa Kachindamoto at the “Mujeres» conference in Segovia, Spain, where Melinda McRostie–the founder of Starfish Foundation–was among five women who had been invited to take part in the conference and talked about their humanitarian work around the world.
Theresa’s endless work to help stop child marriage in her district of Dedza in Malawi was extraordinarily moving and admirable. When she expressed her wish to have a minibus–in order to reach her villages and sensitize her people about the negative impact of child marriage and the value of keeping children in school–Starfish felt like there must be a way to make her wish come true. Starfish came up with the idea of crowd funding and has worked hard to organize and launch her call for help!
Within days of assuming the title of Paramount Chief, Theresa Kachindamoto saw a 12-year-old girl with a baby on her hip and made it her mission to end child marriage in her district.
In her region—where one in two girls marry before the age of 18, where one in five girls is a victim of sexual violence, and where 10% of the population is infected with HIV—Theresa made her sub-chiefs sign an agreement to abolish child marriage and has fired sub-chiefs who’ve approved of them. With the help of village “spies” devoted to her cause, Chief Kachindamoto has prevented 2245 child marriages in her area since 2012, campaigning tirelessly against dangerous sexual initiation rituals for girls and promoting the value of education for all young people.
Today she continues to spread her message door-to-door, traveling between all 549 villages in Dedza district on foot—where distances require up to 16 hours of walking. It takes Theresa and her team five months to travel between all of her villages in this way when a minivan would enable them to reach three or four villages per day.
Please support Theresa in reaching her goal, which is to sensitize as many people as possible… so that children will be allowed to be just…children!