Meet Joyce

359 261 The Hunger Project Australia

The Champiti community has identified early marriage as an issue that they need to take further action on ahead of achieving the targets they’ve set themselves for self-reliance. Early marriage forces many girls to drop out of school, and their future prospects are severely limited as a result.

Joyce is a 14-year-old girl who lives with her parents Hiwa village at Champiti. In 2015 she was pressured by her friends to enter into a sexual relationship with a boy who was also underage. Soon after, she dropped out of school and they started to prepare for a traditional marriage, even though neither had yet reached the legal age for marriage (18 years).

Women Empowerment Animators trained by The Hunger Project at Champiti saw that this was happening, and got together with the Child Protection worker in the area, to stop this early marriage.

They met with Joyce’s parents and learned that they too were being pressured from relatives to go ahead with the marriage. As a result, the Animators mobilised even more people: the village chief, and the relatives themselves.

They were successful: the chief intervened to stop the marriage, and Joyce has returned to school, and dreams of becoming a nurse in the future.