“We are not happy with fathers”: Catholic Bishop in South Sudan on Girls’ School Dropout

Bishop Mathew Remijio Adam during his June 12 pastoral visit to Our Lady of Fatima Parish of Wau Diocese. Credit: Courtesy Photo

The Catholic Bishop in South Sudan’s Wau Diocese has faulted fathers in the East-Central African nation for not doing enough to keep their daughters in school, and contributing to the low levels of formal education completion for the girl child.

Bishop Mathew Remijio Adam who was speaking during his June 12 pastoral visit to Our Lady of Fatima Parish of his Episcopal See lauded South Sudanese mothers for fostering girl child education.

“As Church leaders, we are not happy with fathers because our girls are disappearing from school every year because of forced marriage or pregnancy,” Bishop Remijio said.

He added, “Look at the efforts that their mothers are doing; they cultivate, and build a house in order to support their daughters in studies and you are destroying them.”

The South Sudanese member of Comboni Missionaries (MCCJ) underscored the need for both fathers and mothers to prioritize formal education for their respective children.


He said, “Parents need to promote girl child education for a better and equal society because marrying them at an early age or before finishing their studies destroys their future.”

According to the Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA), more than 10 girls are forced into marriage every week in South Sudan, and over 50% of all girls in the country the gained independence from Sudan in July 2011 are forced into marriage before the age of 18, a factor that contributes to these girls dropping out of school.

In his June 12 speech during his pastoral visit, the 51-year-old Catholic Bishop who has been at the helm of Wau Diocese since his Episcopal Ordination in January 2021 said, “Most of those who are picking our girls from schools are business and rich people.”

He cautioned those behind the high dropout rates among school girls to give the girls a chance to complete their formal education, before presenting “yourself to their relatives or families” for their hand in marriage.

“Allow those who are already in the light of high school to continue rather than destroying their future,” Bishop Remijio reiterated.

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In his attempt to condemn the vice of causing girls to drop out of school, the South Sudanese Catholic Bishop said, “In this world, you will be powerful in doing these things but you will be answerable when you go to heaven because you are not respecting God’s creatures.”

On May 30, the Catholic Bishop of Torit Diocese condemned the vice of forcing young girls into marriage, describing it as part of the old mentalitythat should be challenged and denounced in South Sudan.

Speaking during his visit to Bishop Sisto Mazzoldi Primary and Secondary Schools, Bishop Emmanuel Bernardino Lowi Napeta appealed to elders in his Episcopal See to spearhead the disapproval of forced and early marriages.

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