They open their heart to Danish princess
Saturday November 06 2004 10:05:16 AM BDT
Akbar Hossain, back from Comilla
Adolescent girls of Ashura and Surpur villages in Debidwar in Comilla now have a say about their marriage which was quite unthinkablm only a few years back.
Life skill education provided by Kishori Abhijan (adolescent project) has played a significant role in changing the situation in the two villages. Girls are now taking dinferent kinds of jobs breaking all social prejudices.
They exchanged views with Danish Princess Alexandra Christina during her visit to Kishori Abhijan, a Unicef funded project, yesterday.
Rupali Rani, 14, who recently completed her five-year education, is now working as a photographer in Brac.
"I've asked my parents not to arrange my marriage before I am 20 and they've agreed," she said.
"If a girl conceives before 20, she runs the risk of facing severe health complications," she reasoned.
She told Princess Alexandra that they want to be self-dependant and contribute to their families.
Rashida Begum, supervisor of Kishori Abhijan centre in Ashura village, said initially they met with difficulties while bringing the girls under their project. "But now parents realised the situation and are interested to send their daughters to us."
On fees and other charges, she said, "Girls deposit only Tk 2 every month and it is refundable."
The Danish princess went on a visit to another Kishori Abhijan centre in Surpur and exchanged her views with the parents.
"We don't want our daughters to get married before 20. We want them to be educated so that they can be aware of their rights," Sheuli Begum, a parent, told Alexandra.
"I got married at the age of 12 which was a big mistake in my life. I don't want to see my daughter face the same," she explained.
There are 162 Kishori Abhijan centres in Chandina in the district. These centres take a two-hour class once a week on reproductive health, women empowerment and provide life-skill training.
"We've included local community in our programmes and sit with them every month to motivate them to shun child marriage," said Rashida Parveen, manager of Adolescent Development Programme of the Brac education programme.
The Daily Star