With the last school done, I cannot believe how fast this month has gone! It was great to see that the girls were very enthusiastic during the workshops and they themselves were asking me what they can do to help in their little villages. The school I went to last week is in Narshingdi, around 3 hours drive from Dhaka. A lot of people were telling me before I went that it is not that rural so there is probably not that many cases of child marriages. Once again visiting the village you see a different scene. You ask the girls, teachers or others in the community and they all know someone who has got married at a very young age.
Throughout all three schools the teachers were very happy this program was taking place. It had encouraged them to conduct workshops like this to further educate the girls and parents on child marriages. The girls also said they liked the programme as they enjoyed the interactive elements of it and can see the importance of it. On the last day many parents had attended the program as well, even though they didn’t participate in the activities they saw how the program works. After that was done I took 20 minutes just to chat with the parents and saw what their thoughts were. At the very end one of the mothers spoke out telling all the other parents how she got her eldest daughter married off when she was 15. She regretted taking that decision instantly and was telling the others that she wished that she had waited and wouldn’t make the same mistake for her other daughter. It was great to hear from all the parents who attended that their first priority was to let their girls finish their education then study. I urged them to spread this message to the other parents who couldn’t attend as well as others in the community.
Overall it has been an eye opening experience. It was devastating to see that child marriages were still so common in the areas I went to. However I am really glad the message I was giving out was taken positively by the parents and students. They were all really happy receiving the stationary and school bags and was good to see they were actually getting use out of them. Since I had some fund left I wanted to do one last things for the schools. I noticed that the schools really lacked in computers. Their computer labs had no more than 3 PCs and most of the time they would always say not all are working. So I bought each of my three schools a computer, hoping this helps the girls education.
I will be going back to Bangladesh in December and will be visiting the schools to see what progress has been made. I am very lucky to have had this opportunity to try and help prevent and raise awareness for child marriages. Thanks for keeping updated with me :D!