Cahtolic Church leaders in Rubavu worry about youth who marry unofficially due to poverty. They are determined to support this youth in all means, to overcome this problematic situation.
Weddings in Gisenyi diocese are no longer celebrated: culturally, legally and religiously. In Bugoyi sub-parish, on 50 young couple in 2016, only 13 have gone through official ways. The remaining 37 couples are founded on mutual understanding between boy and girl.
They lack means to officialize wedding due to poverty. Catholic Church leaders are worrying, not only on behalf of faith, but also about health. “Sexually transmitted diseases have path, as young couples start sex earlier, without any test”, they say. And the proof, most couple produce the 1st born in 3 to 7 months, medical sources confirm. Therefore, they ignore they seropositive situation, which is more dangerous.
Testimonies from youth, always confirm lack of means as a handicap to wedding ceremonies, but also some families who disagree with love of young couples; though they prefer shortcuts. “I did it myself, because of poverty, I couldn’t get money for dowry and wedding ceremonies”, says Uzabakiriho, young man of 21 years. Similarly, Izabiriza Chantal acknowledges poverty in her family, with opponent members who were against her love with her boyfriend. “I decided to leave them, and went to him”, she attests.
According to Innocent Habimana, head of Bugoyi sub-parish, this will have an impact on Rwanda society as a whole, if measures are not taken in time. “This type of marriage of our children is source of consequences, like diseases including HIV/AIDS”, says Innocent. Apart from this, the society will suffer of intra-family conflicts, from matrimonial assets management, dispute over children recognition, etc.
Talking to Imvahonshya, Father Jean de Dieu Barigora vows support to youth in this matter. As responsible of youth in Gisenyi Stella Maris Parish, he knows that young couples escape wedding ceremonies due to lack of means. He further promise to support them and eradicate this practice. “To face this chaotic love in youth, we will provide suites to young men and wedding gown to young women. We will be providing them a free reception room, or meet them at theirs to avoid transport expenses”, says Father Jean de Dieu.
The head of this parish, Father Eugene Urayeneza call for different instances to join this initiative, to mitigate this problem and prevent family conflicts. “let’s all join efforts together, fight unofficial marriages in youth to save our country and church in particular”, he adds, during a meeting.
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Jean Baptiste Karegeya
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