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Dhaka Tribune

Two Paba villages free from curse of child marriage

Update : 02 Dec 2013, 06:27 PM

The village of Govindapur under Paba upazila in Rajshahi was declared free from child marriage on November 27 last year.

Since then, not a single child marriage has been solemnised in the remote village which is now being portrayed as free from early marriage.

In remarkable successes, two more adjacent villages, Jhinaipukur and Ashgram, were declared child marriage free on Thursday.

Sources said the villagers took the matter of announcing the Govindapur village as child marriage free in positive manner. Now the girls are studying in school and colleges as the parents and guardians are not interested in marriage before 18, reports BSS.

If someone goes to the three villages under Damkura union parishad, around 12 kilometres away from Rajshahi city, he or she will find three separate signboards inscribed with “a village free from early marriage” at the entrance of each village.

People of the villages have declared their villages as free from early marriage  while the issue of child marriage is being seen as an obstacle towards social development in almost all villages of the region.

Damkura union parishad in association with a non-governmental development organisation, the Centre for Mass Education in Science, took the initiative and declared the villages as free from early and child marriage on that day.

Abdib Hossain, a member of the union parishad, said around 90 to 95% people of the villages are educated and they are more aware than any other surrounding villages. For this reason, the village people extended their whole-hearted support towards the announcement.

Taslima Begum, a housewife of the village, observed that early marriage always led to suffering in both boys and girls.

Early marriage destroys the life of the couple. Early-marriage female victims become weak physically and mentally. Earlier, many people did not know the matter. But, at present the guardians have started realising the grave issues.

“This is our preliminary step. We got spontaneous support from the villagers. We will work to declare all the adjacent villages free from child marriage in the days ahead,” said Ismat Ara Noyan, Organiser (Gender) of SMES.

Shahjahan Ali, Chairman of Damkura Union Parishad (UP), says the public representatives face manifold problems in checking child marriage as many people become unhappy over the issue. But the intensive work of SMES contributes a lot towards the process.

He says the village level educational institutions, especially high schools and colleges, need to be more effective and girl-friendly to make the effort sustainable.

Paba Upazila Nirbahi Officer Razzaqul Islam said such concerted efforts of local government and a non-governmental organisation brought the desired result in preventing child marriage.

He said steps have been taken to build a model village free from child marriage in each of the union parishads under the upazila in phases in the future.

Dr Amir Hossain, deputy director of Department of Family Planning, said early marriage and early pregnancy in particular have been posing a serious threat to the family planning activities especially in the rural areas.

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