Too Young to Marry


Bangladeshi Sebika* was just 14 when her parents married her off to a man about the same age as her father. She is now 17 and the mother of two children.

When Sebika* was 14 years old, she found herself helping her parents prepare for a wedding. Little did she know, it was her own.

Her parents sent her to the grocery store for some last-minute items before the celebration, but when she got there, her neighbors scolded her, asking why she would shop on her wedding day.

“I was really astonished and became angry with that lady for telling such nonsense,” Sebika says. “But after returning home, I found the groom’s relatives coming with a wedding dress.”

Due to their poverty, her parents feared for her long-term security, so they gave her away to a man about the same age as her father. Now, at age 17, Sebika already has two children, and her dreams of attending college and becoming a social worker have long disappeared.

In Bangladesh, where Sebika lives, this is reality for so many girls. The country has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world, and 66 percent of women ages 20 to 24 were married before age 18, despite laws prohibiting the practice.

World Vision in Bangladesh won awards for its “Bride Not Before 18” campaign last year and works diligently to help prevent girls from being married off.

*Name changed.

Photo ©2014 Lipy Mary Rodrigues/World Vision

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