December Success in Reconciliation of Girls with their Families
December 2017 has been a very good month in respect to reconciliation of the girls in the safehouse with their parents. One of the major objectives of Mission With a Vision is to see that each girl is eventually reconciled with her parents. The negotiations are usually conducted through a middleman such as the local chief. Reconciliation negotiations can take between a month to ten years depending on the parents willingness to negotiate. The great news is that no matter how hard the situation is we have always succeeded to reconcile a girl with her parents. The length of time the negotiations take and conditions a father will state for her to return home are unique to each case. The conditions the father may place for reconciliation range from a fine of blankets, to demands of repayment of the bride price which had already been paid when the girl escaped. It sometimes take a long time to negotiate the reconciliation as unreasonable demands like payment of bride price is never accepted.
Coming to an agreement is difficult when the girl is in primary and high school. When the girl enters college it is very easy because parents realize she will soon have a job that will be a possible financial source. After we reconcile the girls with their family, there is an agreement that they will not be forced into female genital mutilation or early marriage. Mission With a Vision continue to pay school fees until the girl graduates from college. The agreement is signed in the presence of government officials so if the agreement is broken the parents face arrest and prosecution.
This December vacation we were able to reconcile 15 girls out of the 67 that were at the safehouse. This was a very significant achievement, in most years we are only able to reconcile 3 to 5 girls. We received 6 new girls. December is usually the FGM season in our county and that is when we receive most girls. For the first time in 20 years were able to reconcile more girls to their families than we received. More girls are expected in January and February. We are really happy about the success of the December reconciliations.
We thank all of you that have helped to ensure the girls remain in school and are fed and clothed.