Child Bride is now a Teacher
Thirteen – this was the tender age when Sharmila got married. In her community, it is not uncommon for girls to get married early. After marriage, girls do not go to their husband's house right away. Their parents wait until the girl comes of age before they send her off to the husband's house. Sharmila, now 20, has already crossed that age but is happily settled in her parents' home.
"I participated in the Sponsorship-funded My First Baby program in 2015. I was hesitant at first but when I gradually began understanding the program's objective, I never missed a single session," shares Sharmila. Two of her friends – one married and the other unmarried – facilitated the sessions. During the sessions, the participants read from the My First Baby book which contains information ranging from the female reproductive system and its functions to family planning and the adverse effects of early marriage on a female's body. "We also had discussion sessions where we learnt about the experiences of our married peers with their first babies. It helped me identify the right choices for the wellbeing of my body," adds Sharmila.
With each session, Sharmila became more informed and grew confident. "I wanted to pursue higher education, but the tradition of going to my husband’s home would prevent me from achieving my dreams," says Sharmila. However, her time at the sessions had provided her the rationale and confidence to convince her mother and husband to postpone her departure for her husband’s house. She shares, "My mother and husband were not happy at first but I kept trying. I told them how I wanted to study and become a teacher and how it would help our marriage too."
After much persuasion, it was decided that Sharmila would move to her husband's house only after he returns to Nepal from abroad, where he is employed. "By that time I will turn 23, and will already have secured a government job in a school," Sharmila says, and returns to prepare for her lessons at a school, where she has been working since the past few months.