Child marriage rampant in far flung areas of Bajura district

Bajura, December 25

Village Child Rights Network Bajura Treasurer Kamala Budhathoki, who was conducting various programmes to raise awareness against child marriage, tied the knot last month in Chhededaha Rural Municipality.

Kamala, who is a tenth grader at local Masteshwori Secondary School, is just 16. “She was an advocate and campaigner against child marriage. We were shocked to hear that she got married at the tender age of 16,” said her teacher Min Bahadur Dhami.

Biura Dhami of Chhededaha Rural Municipality-4, got married two weeks ago. She is just 14. She is also a Child Rights Network member. Dhami is an eighth grader at the local Khapardevasthali Secondary School. She was active in raising awareness against early marriage through cultural programmes in her locality. “But finally, she also got married at an early age. Most of the girls from Grade VIII to X in the local schools are married,” said Ramesh Sunar, a school teacher.

Scores of governmental and non-governmental organisations have been working to fight against child marriage in the district. However, the child marriage rates have been going up alarmingly every year, according to sources.

More than 300 cases of child marriage have been reported in the district in the past three years. “Besides, illiteracy, ignorance and conservative beliefs, increasing use of social networking sites has also contributed to the increasing rate of child marriage,” said an activist Krishna Adhikari. He said there were many such girls who were actively involved in awareness programmes against child marriage but later got married before 18 as per their own wish. “There is no possibility of controlling child marriage unless all the concerned bodies become serious about this,” said Adhikari.