“I got confidence from [my training with] The Hunger Project and stopped my early marriage.” — Hira, Year 10, Bangladesh.
The Hunger Project runs programs such as ‘Safe Schools for Girls’ in rural Bangladesh. In Bangladesh, two thirds of girls are married off before their 18th birthday, and 1 in 5 are married off before the age of 15. This means girls are constantly vulnerable to being married off before they’re ready.
One day out of nowhere, Hira’s relatives arranged her marriage to an unemployed boy. As part of The Hunger Project’s ‘Safe Schools for Girls’ program, reproductive health training had been conducted at her school. From this training, Hira had learnt about the harmful consequences of child marriage, including the dangers of getting pregnant before the body is fully developed. In addition, The Hunger Project had shown many short educational movies in her school. One particular movie called “Kusum’s Autobiography” had left a deep impression, as she saw in the movie how child marriage destroys the life of a teenager – essentially forcing them overnight to stop being a girl and to become a wife and mother. She knew that if she were married off before the legal age of 18, then her life could end up like that too.
With this knowledge, Hira enlisted the help of the other girls and boys in The Hunger Project’s Youth Unit – a group of school students who actively work to stop child marriage for the girls at their school. Together, they explained the negative consequences to her family members and were successfully able to convince them to call off the marriage.
It doesn’t have to be like this. You could invest today so that even more girls can access this program and end child marriage.