Frontline Stories

Girls Stand Up against Child Marriage

Nowadays, child marriage is still a serious issue in many countries. Parents have arranged marriages for girls at a young age. In World Vision’s Area Development Programmes, community members gradually recognise and care about child marriage problems through World Vision’s advocacy work, home visit, children’s forum and Child Protection Units; so many girls can continue their education and growth without dropping out of school and marrying off early.

Read the below four stories from Mozambique, Nepal, India and Bangladesh:


Mozambique

At National Girls Conference in Mozambique’s capital Maputo, World Vision’s media club member is interviewing a government official from the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Affairs on the executive plans to prevent and eliminate child marriage.

Formed by a group of young journalists, World Vision’s media club documented the conference in pictures, interviews and articles, and published in soft and hard copies, to spread child protection message to external audience.

The National GirlsConference is an effort of World Vision and other non-governmental organisations. The conference aims at reducing the number of girls affected by early marriage, and removing Mozambique from top 10 countries with the highest rate of child marriage.


Nepal

Ganga, 15, from Nepal is telling her friends about the disadvantages of early marriage and the need to stop it. Excellent in studies, Ganga is at the top of her class, and loved by her friends and teachers. Due to her wisdom, confidence, hardworking and cordial nature, she was elected as the chair of the school children’s club, a club supported by World Vision.

Maintaining discipline of students, promoting cleanliness and hygiene in school and among students, encouraging participation in extra-curricular activities are some of the major work of the children’s club. But that's not all. The children’s club has also stepped in to help end incidents of child marriage and child labour.

In an attempt to stop a marriage, Ganga and her friends visited a student's house and convinced her parents, explaining the adverse effects of early marriage. They have also submitted a letter to voice out their concern to government authority.

"As children, I think we were not taken seriously. Now, we will have to be more strategic. Talking about child marriage within our students group, involving teachers and Village Child Protection Committee members can help a lot. We will focus on these things more," says Ganga.


Bangladesh

Bangladesh is one of the countries with the highest rate of child marriage in the world. Meghla,16, is from an impoverished family. She lives with her aunt and siblings in a slum in Dhaka. She is a child forum member of Kamlapur Area Development Programme. With the help of otherchild forum members and local committee, she was able to escape from early marriage.

Now, Meghla takes active role as a president or secretary in various child forums. She helps the working children in her community and assists World Vision staff on child protection issues. In the photo above, Meghla is leading a local child forum.

Currently, Meghla is in Grade 11. She aspires to get a postgraduate degree and wants to be a social worker.

“Meghla is our inspiration. She shows us how to live with courage," says Nipa, Meghla’s friend.


India



Shibha, 27, from India has completed her Master’s degree in Urdu and now looking to pursue her Master’s degree in Social Work. “In the past, girls in our community were not educated because parents felt that ultimately they had to get married and leave the house. Girls never raised their voice and would study up to Grade 6 or 8. Even with respect to marriage, the girls could not say ‘No’. Through the meetings organised by World Vision, parents understand how important education is, not only for their children but also for their family. Now parents are sending their girls to school. After the intervention of World Vision, girls like me can express ourselves more often,” says Shibba.


Click to learn more about Child Marriage

Published on 10 Feb 2017

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