Effort to curb child marriage fails in Bajura

Bajura, August 20

Though different awareness campaigns have been launched by government and non-government organisations, child marriage has yet to stop in Bajura.

It is said that as many as 66 pairs got married early due to pressure from the family and other factors, including their own interest, in the last fiscal.

VDC-based Child Networks had collected data from different wards of the district. According to Chairman Rajesh Sunuwar of the network, the couples were between 13 to 17 years of age and most of them were from third to tenth graders.

Secretary Parbati Bogati of the network said that most of the married couples dropped out of school after marriage and only a few of them continued studying. It has been found, through the study, that most of the married children leave for India to get jobs. She further added that lack of education, unemployment, ignorance, traditional beliefs, among others, were the causative factors behind increase in the number of child marriages in the district.

Badimalika Municipality, Budhiganga areas, Toli, Brahmatola and Kuldevmandau VDCs are among other places of the district where the tradition of child marriage is still followed, even though the areas were declared child marriage-free.

According to statistics of district statistics office, as many as 24,919 girls of the district get married before 20. Among them, 4,000 girls get married before they turn 15. As per the law of the land, a girl can get married once she is 18 at the earliest, with the consent of her parents and guardians. However, a girl cannot get married without her parents’ or guardians’ consent until she is 20.

It has also been found that the number of girls getting married at an early age was higher compared to boys. According to statistics, only 12,607 boys get married before 19 years of age.

Child Protection Officer Sarpa Lal Giri of District Child Welfare said that maximum girls get married before 14 to 16 years of age.

Meanwhile, different government organisations working in the field of child rights, District Child Welfare Committee and Child Protection Committee claim that child marriage has increased due to superstitious belief among locals.