Locals implement innovative idea to campaign against early marriageUse wedding invitation cards that have the age of both the bride and the bridegroom
In a bid to control child marriage in the Tarai region, people are being asked to adopt innovative ways to curb child marriage practices.
One such fresh move is to design and use wedding invitation cards that include the date of birth of both the bride and the bridegroom.
Behind the move is Sunil Sah, a social campaigner of Lahan-10 in Siraha, who practiced what he preaches, he said, “My niece, Nisha, is getting married on Wednesday and I designed her wedding invitation cards mentioning her and her groom’s date of birth.”
Sah, who has been campaigning against child marriage, said that this idea has begun germinating in the minds of the parents whose children have reached marriageable age in Tarai districts.
According to him, he has started the trend of mentioning the birth dates of both the bride and the bridegroom in the wedding invitation cards from his family to dessiminate a message that child marriage is illegal in accordance with the existing law.
According to the recently amended Civil Code, the minimum age for marriage in Nepal for both women and men is 20.
Sah, who is also a legal advocate, says child marriage is still prevalent in Madhes, and conscious citizens should raise their voices against child marriage and boycott any function that doesn’t inform invitees about the age of the prospective bride and groom.
As per the data of the District Police Office, three incidents of child marriage were reported in the district in the current fiscal year. Police, people’s representatives and social campaigners were able to stop four cases of child marriage in the district this year.
Raj Kumar Raut Kurmi, a rights activist, said that majority of Dalit communities—including Dom community—still practice child marriage in the Tarai. “Parents often marry off their daughters while they are in their teens due to rampant dowry practice. They think that they should provide enough dowries to their daughters while marrying them off,” said Kurmi. According to him, all concerned stakeholders should join their hands to fight against child marriage and the dowry system.
Child marriage has been illegal in Nepal since 1962, but a complex web of factors still makes the practice persist. Around 37 percent of girls marry before they turn 18, while 10 percent marry before celebrating their 15th birthday in the country, according to a Human Rights Watch report published in September 2016.