A Journal for The Contemporary Church

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Early and Forced Marriage


There is an old story told of a Kerry woman who fell in love with a local farmer. They were both poor and the marriage seemed impossible without a dowry. The woman travelled to America where she worked until she had raised her own dowry. On her return home she was able to present to her new father in law the dowry and marry the man of her dreams. The story goes on to tell a tale of five other weddings that happened as a result of the same dowry. With the arrival of the dowry other young women in the village were able to marry and the same dowry passed from house to house. Ironically it ended up back in the original family home of the lady when her younger brother married and his bride came with ‘the dowry’
One hundred years later in the town of Rumbek in South Sudan tales and stories of remarkable women trying to help pave their own future in marriage are beginning to happen. But there is a long road to go from Kerry to Rumbek.

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