April 12, 2016

My name is Muntasha Quddus and I am currently doing a research internship at the Public Health sciences department here at Uchicago. I am an international student from the UK and this is part of my undergraduate program for Medical sciences at the University of Exeter. I am thrilled to have received the Davis Grant and have the opportunity to carry out my grassroots Project in Bangladesh.

Throughout my life I have travelled a lot, I was born in South Africa and then at the age of 7 I moved to UAE and then 3 years after that we moved to the UK. I have been very lucky to have lived in so many different cultures. My parents are originally from Bangladesh and from a very young age I have visited my extended family there nearly every year. Even though I have never lived in Bangladesh I still feel I have very close roots to it. So when I saw the opportunity for the Davis grant I knew I wanted to do my project in Bangladesh.

For my project I want to raise awareness for the issue of child marriages. I strongly believe in women’s equality and values the importance of education, this issue is something I feel very strongly about. Bangladesh has the 4th highest rate of Child Marriages in the world. These girls are taken out of education early and are deprived of a normal childhood. They suffer from domestic violence as well as poor health due early pregnancy complications. I will be going to 3 different schools in rural areas of Bangladesh, where this a common practice. I will be conducting workshops and talks to outline the importance of education for these girls, and the impacts child marriages can have on their lives. Another very important aspect I want to raise awareness on is the girl’s health. Not many are aware of the early pregnancy complications that can occur as well as becoming infected with STDs when proper precautions are not taken.

I am hoping that by raising awareness through these workshops and talks the communities will start to see this practice is not in the best interest for these young girls. I am very excited to carry out this project. I know it won’t be easy but I am so grateful to have this opportunity!

Here are some pictures of one of the schools I will be working at in Bangladesh.

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