‘YES’ TO CHILDHOOD ‘NO’ TO THE GROOM – CAMPAIGN AGAINST CHILD MARRIAGE

In Nepal, school education for poor families is an unbearable financial burden. Since girls traditionally have a weak social position, it is usual that mostly the boys attend school. Even in childhood, girls have to work and are married off at an early age: almost half of all 15 to 19-year-olds are already married and have children of their own. Many are not even 14 years old when they marry – and some just 8 years old. Hardly any other initiative has such a positive and lasting impact on the development of a society like the promotion of girls’ education: The longer girls are attending school the lower the mother and infant mortality rate becomes. Women with school education usually marry later, are not dependent on their husband’s income for their whole life, have a good chance to get a job, have less children and can provide much better care for those they have. In addition, education strengthens their self-esteem and protects them against child labour. Direct support: That is why we support more than 425 girls from poor families, put them to school and bear all respective costs such as fees, school uniforms, shoes, backpacks, teaching materials, pencils and other stationery. In addition to their education, we also train them through workshops in hygiene and health care, women’s and children’s rights as well as in the protection of the environment and natural resources. Our goal is to encourage the children to graduate from school to give them real opportunities for their lives.

The improvement of the school infrastructure is a prerequisite for a sustainable school education. We have currently selected seven local schools, which are visited by our sponsored girls. We support those schools by ensuring that there are enough black boards, tables, cupboards as well as teaching and learning materials. Additionally, we set up a small library, are financing additional teachers and thus ensure additional teaching units. In two of those schools the children also receive a daily warm meal to improve the nutrition situation and to give the impoverished parents yet another incentive to send their child to school. In addition, three times a year we carry out basic medical examinations which are part of our regularly held health camps. We do not only examine those children supported by us but also about another 1,200 children, since their families are also needy and in case of an emergency they cannot afford medication or a visit at the doctor.

 

PREVENTING A FORCED MARRIAGE

Eleven-year-old Sirijana from Thakaltar, learned about the soon planned marriage of her thirteen-year-old girlfriend. In a traditional manner, her friend had accepted the proposal. But Sirijana was worried about the future of her friend. As she had visited one of our trainings on the negative consequences of child marriage she was well informed what her friends decision really meant. So, she went to our project manager and together they could prevent the marriage. Information and education raise awareness of social injustice and encourages to act and change things.

 

 

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