How a teenage group helped Binsa out of child marriage
In the remote village of Unapani in Nepal, 15-year-old Binsa lives with her parents and three older siblings. The family farms, but the harvest lasts only seven months. To ease the family's burden, Binsa's parents begin pressuring her to marry a 15-year-old boy who lives in the same village. Binsa is distraught, but she does not realise that this is a fundamental violation of her rights.
The right to say no
Child marriage deprives girls of schooling and the chance to break out of poverty. A group of teenage girls from the village of Unapani want to put an end to this through a Mission East-supported project. Binsa is invited to join the project team and take part in classes where she and other girls learn about the consequences of child marriage, which excludes girls from education and often leads to early pregnancies for which the young girl's body is not ready. She also learns about children's rights and the law in this area. Binsa's teacher and friends from the project team are working hard to convince her parents to let her continue in school and find work afterwards, rather than marrying her off. It was particularly difficult to convince the father, but he finally managed to realise that Binsa had the right to say no to marriage.
The right to express opinions
"I am grateful to the project team and Mission East. I could have made a wrong decision but became aware that child marriage can ruin my health and education. My future. Therefore, I decided to tell my family that I did not want to get married," Binsa says confidently.
"I could have made a wrong decision, but became aware that child marriage could ruin my health and education. My future."
Today, Binsa uses her experience in the project group to support other young girls in her local area and show them the way out of child marriage. When the project team discovers that child marriage is about to take place, they act immediately. They contact parents and help them find alternative solutions, including advocating for girls to stay in school and find work afterwards.
How to empower more young girls
Since 2019, Mission East has been working in Nepal to educate children, parents, teachers and community leaders about the negative consequences of child marriage. Measures such as awareness campaigns and activities take place in schools and in the community in partnership with local authorities and leaders. This has given more young girls the courage to choose education over child marriage. In Nepal, child marriage is illegal. Unfortunately, a ban alone does not put an end to child marriage in practice. The reasons lie in long-standing cultural traditions and norms, where parents are not always aware of the consequences or dare to resist social pressure. Structural problems of poverty and inequality also push families like the Binsas to make desperate choices. Thanks to your support for Mission East, young girls like Binsa can get an education.
CHILD MARRIAGE IN NEPAL
- Every third woman in Nepal was married as a child
- The Covid-19 pandemic has led to an increase in child marriages
- Girls from poor families at higher risk of child marriage
Source: UNICEF 2021