Despite signs of progress, Bangladesh continues to have one of the highest child marriage rates in the world.66% of girls in Bangladesh are married under 18 with the average age of marriage for girls in the country being 15. As well as deeply embedded cultural beliefs, poverty, is also a driving factor for child marriage, with parents’ seeking to obtain economic and social security for their daughter. Dowry also continues to be a driving factor, with prices often increasing the older a girls gets.
Sonhita was 10 years old when she was forced to marry her cousin. As a result Sonhita has had to give up her education and dream of becoming a teacher. She is now 13 years old with a 6 month old daughter.
When I got married I was about 10 and my husband was about 16. I had to marry my cousin. My grandmother has taken care of me since I was young, so I felt I had to please her. I am not happy. I now have a 6 month old daughter.
I had a dream of studying to become a teacher. I would have liked that.
I don’t think it’s good to get married too early, so having child marriage free zones is a good thing. I didn’t manage to finish school but I’m going to make sure my daughter does, so she can become a teacher one day.
Narrative courtesy of Plan International