The Forgotten Child Groom | Back Home Again: The Forgotten Child Groom

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Forgotten Child Groom

I remember learning about child marriage during the Middle Ages, sometimes as young as 7 or 8, in history class and thinking that I was so glad that I live now when that doesn't happen.

Except that in some places, such as Western Nepal, it does still happen. 

© 2015 Carey Wagner/CARE

Boys and girls are often forced to marry each other. The girls move in with their husband's family and the couple is expected to start a family as young as twelve. Nepal is one of eight countries where more than 10 percent of boys under the age of 18 are married. These child grooms come from poverty and by being forced to marry so young, the cycle is perpetuated. Child marriage is a human rights violation as agreed upon by member nations of the United Nations in the International Bill of Human Rights.

  © 2015 Carey Wagner/CARE

Take Mathura. He was forced to marry his wife at the at the age of twelve and dropped out of school in 8th grade to support his family working in the rice paddies. Today he lives with his parents, wife, son, daughter, three brothers and two oxen. Mathura was a top student and often wonders what life would have been like if he had been able to stay in school.

Former child grooms are now speaking out to prevent future generations from being forced to trade childhood for marriage.

This Father's Day, I encourage you to learn more about the efforts of CARE, a humanitarian organization fighting poverty by empowering women and girls, to raise awareness of child marriage and reach out to your Congressional leaders to remind them to support organizations fighting child marriage.

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