Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Education Camp in India and Bangladesh

Bangladesh—Despite legislation prohibiting the marriage of girls under the age of 18, arrangements forcing young girls to marry are still all too common in Bangladesh. 

Recent surveys suggest that as many as 20% of girls under the age of 15 are forced into marriage; due to the government’s limited capacity to regulate the laws prohibiting these offenses, it is often NGOs that step up to the task. Obvious consequences of early-age forced marriage include depriving girls the innocence of childhood and opportunities for social and economic independence; but marriage at such a young age can also pose serious risks to girls’ physical and mental well-being. 

Additionally, childbirth at a young age is often complicated and may cause damage to internal organs, leaving young mothers physically challenged and socially ostracized. 

FSD’s efforts to end girlhood marriage (observed by our traveling giving circle participants in 2010) have included supporting an educational camp designed to educate rural girls and their families about the negative aspects of child marriages. In our Jodhpur, India site, we are working with Vikalp to provide viable alternatives to forced underage marriage.

Change is gradual, as these societal norm are ages-old, but we are heartened to work with our community partners in these initiatives.

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