Witness Mwaijaga is a popular Tanzanian singer. She knows the problems of children in her country and recently composed a song on child marriage, a focus of Save the Children's Every Last Child campaign in Tanzania.
The song tells the story of Sharifa, a young girl whose father wants her to marry a rich man. In the song Sharifa's sister asks the father: "What is the reason – money or poverty, tradition or religion?"
In Tanzania thousands of girls face the same issues as Sharifa. They are subjected to violence, harassment and neglect. They experience violence and harassment when walking to school. They fear being beaten by their teachers and are often forced to engage in transactional sex to achieve better educational results. Many children, particularly girls, are forced to enter domestic work which significantly increases their risk of physical, sexual and emotional abuse.
Their families arrange early marriages, with the additional risks of school dropout, early pregnancy and domestic violence. Early marriages are arranged for different reasons, including tradition, religion and to escape poverty.
In Tanzania, we are campaigning for girls at risk of child marriage where almost two out of five girls are married before their 18th birthday. Together we can ensure every last child has the opportunity to survive and learn.
Witness Mwaijaga’s song about Sharifa finishes on a positive note: "Let her study, she has a right to choose for herself!" She will remain in school. Let's make the world safe for all children!