I went to visit the village my mum’s parents grew up in and took the opportunity to also talk to a few girls there. This village is only 40 mins from Dhaka yet it is still a pretty common practice there to get girls married early. It was nice to have a different setting to a school where they are surrounded by teachers. I got to just chat with a few girls and get their thoughts on this issue. It was encouraging to see that all the girls I spoke to there did want to continue their education and knew who to go to if they were forced into a child marriage.
I also held the program at my second school this week in a village called Bhakurta. This village is a bit more developed than the previous one. The school is also much bigger, yet they still have a high rate of girls dropping out due to them getting married. The workshops went well and even the chairman of the village attended. The teachers, principal and chairman were keen to continue holding workshops like this for the girls. I had left them plenty of leaflets to post to all the parents and well as a few materials on child marriages for them to use later. Also as I always get girls to create spider diagrams on the harmful impacts of child marriages, the teachers were saying they would stick them up in the classrooms which would be very beneficial for the girls!
This time I met a girl called Marriam who was in year 9 and married. She got married in year 8 and her husband, who now lives abroad. I asked her if she was happy she said yes and that she has had no problems. She didn’t want to get married but as her family found a suitable husband they had put a lot of pressure to get her to agree. She herself said that it is nice of them to still let her continue her education. It’s true she is one of the luckier ones as plenty of other girls do not get to do that. It was still heartbreaking to see such a young girl already married but was glad to see that she was still healthy, happy and in education. Hopefully the program can make some impact and reduce the number of girls getting married and allow them to prosper!