Guest blogger: Claire Schreder
Unyielding, at Rohama’s plea, her mother stood firm against these requests, rejecting cultural norms that often lead to child marriages. However, the man propositioning Rohama for marriage soon became upset with her mother’s rejections, and his requests became increasingly demanding.
Rohama’s mother made the courageous decision to send her daughter to Addis Ababa, to spare her from the looming threat of forced child marriage. Rohama’s final days in Arsi were spent in fear, as she could not go outside for risk of being abducted and forced into child marriage by the angry Shimagles in the community.
The transition to the urban life of Addis Ababa was not what Rohama anticipated. Rohama found herself working tirelessly, balancing responsibilities of caring for children and managing household chores to make ends meet. Despite these newfound challenges, Rohama was undeterred in her pursuit of an education and achieving her dreams. She persevered, and after two years attending night school after her long days working, she discovered Studio Samuel.
Residing close to Studio Samuel's training center, Rohama noticed girls attending the school. Feeling intrigued, she took the initiative to approach the center and inquire about the registration process, and enrolled as a student. Rohama credits Studio Samuel as being a transformative force in her life, providing her with the resources, support, and mentorship needed to thrive in her studies. Rohama emphasizes a crucial skill she gained at Studio Samuel - self-confidence. She no longer harbors a fear of speaking in front of others and is now comfortable making new friends. Furthermore, with the support of Studio Samuel, Rohama has not only found a refuge from the threat of child marriage that once plagued her, but also a pathway to realizing her dream of attending college for fashion design.
The adversities faced by Rohama are unfortunately not uncommon for young girls in Ethiopia, especially in rural areas. Cultural constraints often result in forced child marriage and create barriers for young girls in pursuing their education and careers. Studio Samuel is pivotal in supporting young girls to break free from these cultural constraints and achieve their full potential.
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