Nepal | May 26, 2020

Post-quake, child marriage cases up

There is growing fear that many might marry off daughters at quite early age

Himalayan News Service
Share Now:
The lower belt of Kagati village, where around 550 families lost their homes to the April earthquake, in Nuwakot, on Saturday. Photo: THT

The lower belt of Kagati village, where around 550 families lost their homes to the April earthquake, in Nuwakot, on Saturday. Photo: THT

NUWAKOT, June 27: The April earthquake flattened majority of houses in Kagati village in Nuwakot, which is just 17 kilometres from the capital Kathmandu, forcing many to find survival out in the open. The quake rendered around 550 families homeless in wards 7 and 8 of Okharpauwa VDC. Two months on, as locals struggle to find proper shelters to live in, as the monsoon rains are making life more difficult, there is an increasing fear that child marriages will go up.

Even before the quake, the village had high prevalence of child marriage, said to Chakra Man Shrestha, a teacher at Shree Bhawani Secondary School. “Earlier, girls were married off at the age of 12-15, but of late the trend had stopped, and girls at the age of 15-18 were being married off,” said Shrestha, adding, “Now we are fearing, in the aftermath of quake, cases of child marriage will go up.”

“Almost all the families have lost their houses and property to the earthquake. Those who could barely make ends meet before the earthquake are having an even tougher time, and are struggling to earn two square meals a day. They might think that their burden could be lessened by marrying their daughters,” he told a team of the United Nations Population Fund that had reached the village this week to take stock of child marriage situation in the aftermath of the earthquake.

girls bear burntWhen Durga Bahadur Balami got married 14 years ago, he was 12 and his bride barely nine. A father of three children now, Balami said, “Poverty and lack of awareness among locals are the two main reasons of child marriage.”

“Many parents have incurred heavy financial losses due to the earthquake. They might think that if they marry off their daughters, they will have fewer mouths to feed.”

Nepal already has a high level of child marriage with one in 10 girls married by the age of 15 and four in 10 before their 18th birthday, according to data.

According to the 2011 census, more than 750,000 women in Nepal today were married between 10 and 14 years of age. More than half of girls/women between 15 and 19 (2.7 million out of 4.3 million) reported they were married, meaning more than 73 percent of girls are married by the time they turn 19 (both the census and UNICEF use age 19 as a cut-off point, technically overlapping with adulthood).

fastfacts28junGlobally, 720 million women alive today were married before their 18th birthday. One in three girls in the developing world are married before they turn 18, one in nine by the age of 15.

Child marriage, human trafficking and other forms of violence increase in times of disasters, according to UNFPA. “Keeping this in mind, it is fundamental to continue working together with the government, international organisations and local partners to prevent violence and raise awareness in the communities and provide support and services.

Part of UNFPA’s response to the recent earthquake has been to carry out reproductive health camps in the affected districts and set up female-friendly spaces to providing life-saving services and strengthen protection mechanisms for women and girls,” said Giulia Vallese, Representative of UNFPA in Nepal.

Nepal outlawed child marriages like Biswokarma’s in 1963 (and subsequently outlawed caste discrimination in 1991).


A version of this article appears in print on June 28, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Drunken man murders spouse in Udaypur

GAIGHAT: A man has murdered his wife after consumption of alcohol in Rautamai Rural Municipality-8 of Udaypur district, on Monday. The deceased has been identified as Dil Maya Tamang, 43, of the Rural Municipality. According to Superintendent of Police (SP) Bir Bahadur Budha Magar at the Distr Read More...

Highlights from today’s media briefing on COVID-19 response

KATHMANDU: The Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP), in its regular press briefing, shared the latest updates from across the country on government’s response to COVID-19 crisis. As of today, 51,642 tests through Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) method and 95,192 Rapid Diagnostic Tests Read More...

25 people recover from COVID-19; nationwide recovery tally reaches 112

KATHMANDU: Twenty-five persons earlier diagnosed with the coronavirus infection, admitted at different health facilities across the country, have been discharged following recovery, confirmed the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP). Eighteen persons of Chhapkaiya in Parsa district -- all of Read More...

NPC-NPI meet on virtual 'Policy Dialogue post COVID-19'

KATHMANDU: The National Planning Commission (NPC) and Nepal Policy Institute (NPI) held the first meeting in the series of NPI-NPC Policy Dialogue post COVID-19 via Zoom conference. Several experts from NPI Global experts community of Nepali origin and NPI Board members based in South East As Read More...

BTS label Big Hit acquires Pledis Entertainment home to NU'EST, SEVENTEEN

KATHMANDU: Big Hit Entertainment, the music label of K-pop band BTS, said on May 25 that it has acquired Pledis Entertainment that manages NU'EST and Seventeen, as part of efforts to diversify its business portfolio. Quoting Big Hit statement, The Korea Herald stated: "We've become the larges Read More...

43 persons recover from COVID-19, discharged from hospital today

BIRGUNJ: Forty-three patients, including two journalists, undergoing treatment at the Birgunj-based Narayani Hospital for COVID-19 have been discharged following recovery, on Monday. According to the hospital's medical superintendent Dr Madan Upadhyay, the patients were discharged today after Read More...

Coronavirus , vaccines, vaccines trails

First signs if a COVID-19 vaccine works possible in autumn

ZURICH: First indications of the effectiveness of a potential vaccine against coronavirus may be available in the autumn, the head of the GAVI vaccine alliance told a Swiss newspaper, forecasting a long road from there to broad availability. "Unfortunately, we really do not know which vaccin Read More...

Onus on Dortmund to beat Bayern in quietest ever ‘Klassiker’

BERLIN: Borussia Dortmund has to beat Bayern Munich on Tuesday if anyone is to have a realistic chance of stopping the seven-time defending champion from claiming yet another Bundesliga title. “This game will be decisive. If we lose, it’s more or less over,” Dortmund defender Raphaël Guerr Read More...