Sunday, May 24, 2015

39,000 girls under 18 will marry today.

Child marriage is defined by the United Nations as any child who marries before the age of18.  It is estimated that 39,000 girls under 18 will marry today.

Between 2011 and 2020, it is estimated that 140 million children will be married and of those 50 million will be under the age of 15.

One half of all the girls in South Asia will be married before they reach their 18th birthday.

These women walked several hours to wait for a government midwife to immunize their children and get prenatal care.  They wait at a small store and if she does not come, walk home again and try the following month.   There is no care in their villages.  Mostly they come for immunizations.

When I am there, in a small community, I offer prenatal care and work with the community health workers and Gigi, the newly graduated midwife.   I ask a young woman who is only 14 if this is her first pregnancy.  "No" she answers.  "I had one other who died."    "When?"  I ask. She looks at me and says, "The day he was born.  That day."   I wonder why.  "Did he cry at birth?"  "Yes, she says."

I ask who the midwife was and she answers that her husband delivered the baby.   


She is fourteen, pregnant for the second time and has already lost one baby.  They tell me that the girls are frequently given in marriage for a dowry such as two horses or some other thing the family might need.  The  men are older and perhaps have other wives or children.   

The next day, I have a women's circle and we talk about birth and some things that might help in an emergency.   I suggest having a first baby after 18 but they laugh.  This is not possible.   They are married between 11 and 14.  

No comments:

Post a Comment