“Child Marriage: Much To Do” Namrata Sharma, The Himalayan Times, 22 March 2016

"As soon as a child marriage by eloping is identified in communities, schools and police should jointly nullify such ‘marriages’  in order to stop the parents and societies from accepting it.

Once child marriages are recognized by schools and communities, they should be nullified immediately in order to end the practice’s widespread acceptance. Options for young women in Nepal and India are not only limited, but also far from ideal. Anticipating a better life, Kamu, a woman from the Makwanpur district of Nepal “married” a 25-year-old man at age 14. She never legally married him, but was taken to Ludhiana, India for her “husband’s” work. Once the relationship became violent, Kamu sought help from fellow Nepali women in the neighborhood. Her options are slim. Kamu plans to move to a Gulf country to find work, but it puts her at an increased risk of being trafficked. Also, if she finds work and moves, her two daughters will remain at risk of marriage. The root of the practice lies in the abundant acceptance of child marriages in society. Child marriage is embedded in Nepali culture, and like Kamu, many adolescents agree to marriage anticipating a better lifestyle. Additionally, child marriage may be persisting due to Nepal’s youth’s desire for a romantic lifestyle. In the county, an increased number of couples live together before marriage. Unfortunately, the importance for education is on the decline while Nepali youth focus on finding love. Mobile phones are a major culprit. They provide teens in dire situations with a fictitious romantic escape. The solution is to bring these adolescents back to reality by educating them on the dangers of early marriages. Parents, schools, and NGO’s are trying to revise the school curriculum in order to raise awareness. While Nepal has created laws against child marriage, none of these laws are actually being carried out. Overall, there is cause for hope as the number of child marriages is decreasing. Yet, 41% of women are still marrying before 18.

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“Child Marriage: Much To Do” Namrata Sharma, The Himalayan Times, 22 March 2016

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