Sabina, 19, lives in Morang district, eastern Nepal. An active participant in a children’s club network supported by Plan International for nearly 10 years, she has taken part in many activities to raise awareness about harmful traditional practices in her community, particularly child marriage.
“After being exposed to different projects and activities where children can discuss, participate and share their ideas about issues that children, especially girls have to face, I found a positive strength within myself to stand up and try to make a difference,” she says.
High rates of child marriage in Nepal
Despite the law stating that people must be 20 to get married, 37% of girls in Nepal are married before reaching the age of 18. Ending child marriage is one of the key targets for the sustainable development goals, but in countries like Nepal, it can be a slow process.
I want girls to know their rights, so together, we can change our destiny.
Plan International’s global programme, 18+ (Ending Child, Early and Forced Marriage) is working in Nepal to enable girls to avoid marriage, stay in school and decide for themselves whether and when to marry. The programme takes a holistic approach to identify and address the root causes of this harmful tradition and identify opportunities for change.
At the children’s club, girls can meet regularly to discuss child rights, sexual and reproductive health and the negative aspects of child marriage.
Standing up to make a change
Sabina uses street drama and theatrical performances to warn other girls against child marriage, highlighting the negative outcomes such as gender-based discrimination and violence.
She says, “It’s tragic what girls have to face. I want girls to know their rights, so together, we can change our destiny.”
Sabina’s commitment to her cause has been successful in stopping a number of child marriages in her community. She is a key ally in the fight for girls’ rights, organising community activities and advocating at national level. She was recently unanimously selected to lead the children’s club network in her community.
“By working together, we can unlock the power of girls and we will not stop until all girls are seen, listened to and valued,” says Sabina with determination.