Sumaiya’s stand against child marriage

Sumaiya’s stand against child marriage

Sumaiya, 17, in Bangladesh with her grandmother.

Child marriage is common in parts of Bangladesh, where poverty and tradition drive families to marry off their young daughters. In Sumaiya’s village, more than half the girls marry before they turn 18.

But you’re helping to change that. Your kindness is reaching girls like Sumaiya and empowering them to stand against child marriage.

Sumaiya knew marriage wasn’t for her because of a youth club run by World Vision.

“The club taught me about what marriage at a young age does to a person’s physical and mental health. I also personally witnessed the suffering of many child brides in my own neighbourhood,” says Sumaiya. “I made the decision to not marry early and wait for the right time.”

She was preparing for her exams when she got the news. Her uncle told her to get ready – her prospective groom was on his way with a marriage proposal.

“When I heard the news, I was stunned. I could not think of what to do,” recalls Sumaiya. “I got ready and faced the groom’s family, and a wedding date was set.”

Sumaiya’s family felt that giving her up in marriage would secure her future and help the rest of them survive.

Her grandfather explains, “Our days pass in great hardship. We barely make ends meet in our family.”

But marrying at 16 wasn’t the future Sumaiya dreamed of. “Getting married now would be the death of my dreams. I do not want my dreams to be ruined!” she shares.

Sumaiya held on to hope. She turned to her youth club for support. And thanks to the love and care of kiwis like you, the club was there when she needed them most.

“I sought help from my friends in the club. Then they and the village elders all visited my house and spoke to my parents and guardians. They convinced them to call off the wedding.”

Sumaiya’s club isn’t the only one fighting for child rights. Across Bangladesh, more than 670 youth clubs are helping children take a stand, thanks to the kindness of child sponsors like you.

Learn more about how you can help a girl like Sumaiya to fight for her rights and become the force of change she was born to be.