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In some cases the girl does not even have to be pregnant.

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But in this coastal country in southern Africa, it is often accompanied by early marriage, which, studies show, sets a girl up for a life of extreme poverty and deprivation.

According to Girls Not Brides, a global coalition of nonprofits aimed at ending child marriage, girls who marry before the age of 18 are at greater risk of contracting HIV/AIDS and of experiencing domestic violence.

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Olinda dropped out of school after giving birth to her first child. Like many girls in this village in southern Mozambique, she had hopes of becoming a teacher; now, she wishes the same for her daughter. (At the request of the nonprofit group that works with Olinda and assisted Al Jazeera with this story, her real name has been withheld).

While more than 87 percent of girls in Mozambique are enrolled in primary school, the percentage drops to less than 17 percent in secondary school, according to UNICEF.

“A couple more years of education under your belt — that’s a couple years of thinking of things very differently and having the opportunity to make different choices,” says Jennifer Topping, United Nations Mozambique resident coordinator.She spends her days cooking and cleaning; watching her second child, a 1-year-old girl; gathering wood; and hauling water.Low levels of education are compounded by lack of access to reproductive health information and services.After her boyfriend disappeared, Olinda’s brother arranged her marriage, to a boy a year older than her.His parents wanted him to wed before he impregnated someone and was forced to pay a fine to the girl’s family, as is the custom here.According to a 2013 UNICEF report on Mozambique, children who do not live with their parents because they have died or migrated “are vulnerable in almost all aspects of their lives.”Dulce’s husband, too, works in South Africa, in a shop. She has her own dishes, three cows and nice furniture — all things she lacked before, made possible by her husband’s salary.

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