Nahartol girls vow to check rampant child marriage

- PAWAN YADAV, SIMARA

Feb 19, 2019-

Parents of 16-year-old Hina Khatun, a resident of Nahartol in Jitpur Simara-24, started preparing for their daughter’s wedding five months ago. The fifth grader dreams to be a painter but knows that she will not be able to pursue her dream post-marriage.

To find a solution to her problem, she, along with three other friends who were going through the same ordeal, approached Ruchi Adolescent Girl Dialogue Group, a social organisation working to abolish child marriage in the region.

Pinki Yadav, the facilitator of the group, said, “Child marriage is a punishable offence, but before seeking legal help, we thought it best to intervene personally and request with the parents to drop the plans of getting their daughters married. The parents gave in to the repeated requests from our moderators, Puja Barma and Bhim Kumar Rai, and from the girls themselves.”

Child marriage goes unchecked in various communities in Tarai districts and is mostly practiced in the Muslim community. According to the recently amended civil code, the minimum age for marriage in Nepal for both women and men is 20.

Hina and other girls in Nahartol, a Muslim settlement with 180 families, have expressed their commitment to prevent underage marriages in the community.

Social activists in the area laud the young girls’ involvement in the fight against child marriage. Rai said, “It was quite challenging to prevent child marriage, especially in the Muslim community. However, due to the efforts of the girls and women in the community, child marriage has significantly dropped in the settlement now.”

Published: 19-02-2019 10:47

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