Angeline Makore was almost a victim of child marriage at the early stages of her life. She was only 14 years old when she found out that she was to be married to her elder sister’s husband who was being unusually nice to her. He bought her various gifts and gave her attention knowing she was still a child and therefore very gullible. He also encouraged her to attend his church sect knowing that The Apostolic sect encourages polygamy.
However, Angeline refused to follow the path and decided to stop seeing her brother-in-law. That was how she narrowly escaped being trapped in a child marriage. This experience helped shape Angeline who is determined to take a bold step to stand against an injustice encountered by 1 out of 3 Zimbabwean adolescent girls.
She has since become pioneer activist and is now a powerful advocate against child marriage in Zimbabwe.
She has been instrumental in rescuing victims of child marriage and young girls who have been sexually abused. She also offers psycho-social support to young mothers. This served as an inspiration for her to work on reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health (RMNCAH) issues as a volunteer at Girl Child Network Zimbabwe.
Angeline founded Spark R.E.A.D (Resilience, Empowerment, Activism and Development), an organization that focuses on RMNCAH issues without the motive of profit generation. Spark READ helps put girls on the line of change by encouraging them to attend community girls clubs.
When girls join the community clubs, Angeline explains elaborately what child marriage is and the implications of getting into child marriage – including how it affects their health, education and opportunities. Young girls are tutored to stand for their rights and change the attitudes of their parents and leaders in the community as long as they have the skills, knowledge and understanding to do so.
Using education entertainment, Angeline teaches girls how to speak out and stand against child marriage. By means of interactive poems, plays and dance, girls learn to connect and engage with members of their community and campaign for change.
The organization runs a program, “the SparkGirl mentorship program”. This program was initiated with the motive of providing tailor-made training on sexual and reproductive health education to young girls. Spark READ also connects girls from underprivileged backgrounds with already established women leaders to help find role models and mentors for the girls.
In addition to those other activities, Spark READ runs a mentorship program to build the confidence of young girls, imbibe leadership mentality in them and help them build confidence to speak publicly. With these skills, these girls have what it takes to go all out and mentor other girls and become ambassador against child marriage within their schools, churches and societies, creating a ripple effect across Zimbabwe.
Angeline Makore also writes a blog on family planning, a platform used by her to express her thoughts on reproductive health from the youth community perspective. She also believes that young people should be the change they want to see and is vital to include young people in decision making processes.