Make MENAFN My Home Page
 
  Quotes: MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

Nepal's Dalit child brides: kidnapped, married at 13  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - Gulf Times - 05/02/2015
No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!



(MENAFN - Gulf Times) On a freezing night three years ago, 13-year-old Susmita Kami sneaked out of her husband's house and didn't stop running until she reached her parent's doorstep in Nepal's remote northwest.

Her escape from a forced marriage - a tradition many teenage girls from the Himalayan nation's Dalit community are expected to uphold - was soon under threat.

But Susmita's parents resisted demands from her in-laws to send her back, deciding to stand by their pleading daughter who desperately wanted a better life.

"I told them I never wanted to get married and I wasn't going back. I ran away because I wanted to stay in school," Susmita, now 16, said.

Although #Nepal banned child marriage in 1963, four out of 10 girls are married before they turn 18, according to Unicef.

The figures are even higher among the country's impoverished Dalits or "untouchables" who live in remote communities shunned by the mainstream, meaning their customs go largely unchallenged.

Three out of four Dalits marry during their teens or earlier, according to a 2012 survey by Plan International, Save the Children and World Vision. Girls are often abducted by prospective grooms in a cultural practice few families object to.

Susmita was kidnapped while collecting firewood, and forcibly married four days later - an ordeal also endured by her mother, Jadane Kami, when she was a teenager.

"This is our culture. People worry that otherwise our girls will elope or marry into other communities," said Kami, who initially did not oppose her daughter's forced marriage.

The tradition has survived a 10-year civil war, the end of royal rule and Nepal's transition to democratic politics.

In Simikot, headquarters of remote Humla district that borders the Tibetan plateau, Dalits live in segregated settlements.

"Dalits have struggled due to their low caste status. For centuries, they were not allowed to mix with others at all," Humla's deputy district chief, Bam Bahadur KC, said.

"Naturally, this has left them very isolated, they are still following old
customsand change has been slow to come," he said.


Dalit families also labour under huge financial strain, officials say, with children pushed to leave school and start work while their parents eke out a living as subsistence farmers.

The oldest of seven children, Dana Sunar, now 18, had been the last Dalit girl in her class. While the others had dropped out, Sunar dreamed of graduating and becoming a schoolteacher.

But she was taken at 14 and forced to marry an 18-year-old farmer earning 50 a month.

"I cried and cried. It was like a door had closed before me, any dreams I had were gone," Sunar said.

Her in-laws pressured her to drop out of school and focus on farming and housework. Now a mother to six-month-old twins, Sunar described her new life as "a daily struggle".

"We never have enough money - sometimes we eat only once a day. I don't know how I am going to bring up these children," she said.

Experts say the consequences of marrying so young are

devastating.

"Adolescents have children early, they are unable to focus on education ... and both mothers and babies end up with health problems," said Kunga Sanduk Lama, a government official who works on child rights.

Laws are ineffective, he said, citing a lack of evidence - documents, photos or witness testimonies - needed to prove a marriage occurred so punitive action can be pursued.

Instead, campaigners focus on raising awareness through radio shows, street plays and after-school clubs for children.

Those who have fallen victim to the tradition need no convincing. Susmita, now in ninth grade, said she wanted to see an end to "this terrible custom".

Her father, a cobbler who earns 80 a month, said sending her to school was a struggle. The cost of her uniform alone is a staggering 45. But for now, her family will do whatever they can to keep her in class.

"I want my daughter to have a chance to stand on her own feet," her mother said.
"I think she did the right thing by running away. She is more brave than me - I never felt like I had a choice in the matter."
 
 


Gulf Times




Oman- Voltamp Energy bags RO34mn contracts from Qatar's Kahramaa, ,8/23/2017 9:13:41 AM



(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Muscat- Voltamp Energy Company on Tuesday announced that its subsidiary Voltamp Oman Transformer Company has been awarded two contracts worth RO34mn for supplying electric ...


Oman- CBO issues treasury bills worth RO35mn, ,8/23/2017 9:13:42 AM



(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Muscat- A tender of the government treasury bills, issue number 464, was held at the Central Bank of Oman (CBO). The total value of the allotted treasury bills amounted to ...


Oman- IMF to hold regional conference on promoting higher economic growth in Arab world, ,8/23/2017 9:13:42 AM



(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Muscat- The International Monetary Fund (IMF), Arab Monetary Fund (AMF), Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD) and the government of Morocco will co-host a ...


Ahmad's Oman Racing to take part in Gulf 12 Hours, ,8/23/2017 9:13:43 AM



(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Two years after making a spectacular debut in the highly-competitive Gulf 12 Hours endurance race at the Formula One Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi, UAE, Oman's Ahmad al ...


Oman- 62 students awarded English language test certificates at ELES graduation ceremony, ,8/23/2017 9:13:44 AM



(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Muscat- For the first time in Oman, English Language Education Services Centre (ELES) has successfully introduced and administered the TOEFL Primary Tests and the TOEFL ...


Oman- AFC Champions League: Big win for Shanghai, ,8/23/2017 9:13:44 AM



(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Brazilian international Hulk scored one and made another as Shanghai SIPG all but sealed its spot in the AFC Champions League (ACL) semifinals with a 4-0 first-leg rout of ...


Oman- Porsche Mobil 1 Super Cup: Al Faisal confident ahead of Spa races, ,8/23/2017 9:13:44 AM



(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Oman's talented racer Al Faisal al Zubair is high on confidence after a strong testing session at the famed Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium recently. Al Faisal ...


Six cultural features that are unique to Oman, ,8/23/2017 9:13:45 AM



(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) 2017-8-23"/> August 23, 2017 Oman has been a major tourist attraction for the Middle East and for visitors from across the world. In recent years the number of tourists ...


Creamy layer ceiling raised from Rs. 6LPA to Rs. 8LPA, ,8/23/2017 8:43:24 AM



(MENAFN - NewsBytes) Creamy layer ceiling raised from Rs. 6LPA to Rs. 8LPA 23 Aug 2017 The government has hiked the ceiling for the creamy layer by Rs. 2 lakh, from Rs. 6 lakh per annum to ...


Defamation case: HC notice to Kejriwal on 'false affidavit', ,8/23/2017 8:43:24 AM



(MENAFN - NewsBytes) Jethmalani resigns as Kejriwal's advocate, seeks Rs. 2 crore dues 26 Jul 2017 Ram Jethmalani finally called it quits as Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal's legal counsel in the ...




 





Google

 
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network
Arabic MENAFN

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country

Search News
Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

Commodoties

Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks
 

Algeria 
Bahrain 
Egypt 
Iraq
Jordan 
Kuwait 
Lebanon
Morocco 
Oman 
Palestine
Qatar 
Saudi Arabia 
Syria
Tunisia 
UAE 
Yemen

Weather
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary


Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor

Events

Real Estate
Submit Your Property

Arab Research
Buy a Research

Press Releases
Submit your PR

Join Newsletters


 
© 2014 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help