“The pandemic affected our vegetable business and we quickly found ourselves in a situation where we could not pay our bills. On top of that, schools closed - we were faced with uncertainty everywhere. My husband decided to get our underage daughter married. My world came tumbling down.
My daughter wanted to complete her education, not get married. She was a bright student, who attended high school in our village in Manikganj, central Bangladesh. Before the pandemic, she tutored other children in the village and ran a small tailoring service from home, to support her education.
As a member of BRAC’s Pollishomaj, I was aware of the emotional and physical trauma that child marriage brings. I knew it was a crime.
My husband refused to listen to me. My fellow Pollishomaj members also tried convincing him with no success. Finally, I contacted the local government representatives. They calmly warned my husband about the legal consequences of orchestrating child marriage. It took a while, but it worked, and the marriage was called off. Schools have reopened and my daughter is now preparing for her secondary school examination.’
- Shahida Begum, Bangladesh