POSTED June 19, 2020
Keep girls safe from child marriage during the pandemic and after
Learn more about how Children Believe is helping keep children safe from exploitation
By Brianne Binelli, digital content manager
The economic uncertainty caused by COVID-19 is leaving vulnerable girls around the world susceptible to child marriage, an issue Children Believe is always working with children and families to address.
We met Pooja, a child bride in India, last year (as Christian Children’s Fund of Canada). She told us her story and pleaded for change.
“Why are girls treated as inferior to boys?,” she asked. “Parents should be aware their children should be educated. They should stand on their own and get a good job. Until that time, children should not be made to marry.”
Children Believe has been working in India through our STOP Child Marriage NOW campaign, which has reached more than 1.2-million people from 1,430 villages and 2,300 schools in 32 districts. After the campaign began, many communities and schools decided to stand against child marriage.
Today, as many parents struggle to feed their children, child marriage becomes a real risk for too many. Help us ensure child-safety systems are in place. Provide an emergency child-safety pack today and help make positive change possible.
Child brides of India: Pooja’s story
I was married when I was 13 years old.
Although I refused this marriage proposal, my parents did not accept it.
I was beaten up by my father continuously for three days to make me accept it.
I have faced many struggles in my husband’s home.
I used to be beaten up by him daily, and I was in so much pain.
My parents never interfered in my family life.
I had to stay with my husband.
I did not know what to do in this situation.
I lost hope in life and attempted suicide three times.
The first time, I tried to hang from a ceiling fan.
My husband saw this and rescued me.
The second time, I swallowed sleeping pills.
The third time, I cut my hand with a blade.
My nerves were cut and my hand was bleeding heavily.
I realized that I have to live for my children.
I took a strong decision that I should not die.
Why are girls treated as inferior to boys?
Many of them feel sad for having a girl child.
Some hate a girl child. Is it wrong to be born as a girl?
Why are there early forced marriages?
When will we recognize the girl child?
Why don’t we ask her whether a girl wants to study or get a job?
Parents who force their child to marry should be punished.
Parents should be aware that their children should be educated.
They should stand on their own and get a good job.
Until that time children should not be made to marry.
ABOUT CHILDREN BELIEVE:
Children Believe works globally to empower children to dream fearlessly, stand up for what they believe in — and be heard. For 60+ years, we’ve brought together brave young dreamers, caring supporters and partners, and unabashed idealists. Together, we’re driven by a common belief: creating access to education — inside and outside of classrooms — is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world.