[Too Young to Wed] Nepal: A Fragile State

A short film on a young Nepalese couple speaking about their early marriage and how  early marriage perpetuates a cycle of poverty and difficulty. In this film, you will see clips of the wife when she was a child bride about a decade ago. The wife and husband, Durga and Niruta, were 14 and 16 years old at the time of their marriage. You will also see a more recent wedding procession (2016) with a young bride, Anita. Her cries are emotionally deafening.

Before you watch the clip, here are some words from Stephanie Sinclair, the documentary photographer:

I kept seeing girls who were marrying so young and struggling in very immediate ways — from domestic violence, cyclical poverty, being more prone to HIV, having higher [medical] risks in childbirth — and I thought that deserves as much attention as any conflict zone. The real courage belongs to the girls for enduring such trauma and sharing their stories, which they do because they don’t want to see these things happen to others.

The earthquake in 2015, like other natural disasters, exacerbate poverty in Nepal. With greater poverty comes greater pressure to wed your children in early marriage out of the necessity and hope that they will have food and a home.

Statistics show that child marriage usually increases in emergency settings. The challenges these families face are very layered and nuanced. It’s not just the immediate consequences but lifelong consequences that the next generation has to face, particularly the girls.

Durga and Niruta’s story leaves me speechless. Seeing their living conditions also breaks my heart… : ( I don’t know what to say.

(Click here to read more about this clip and other NPR Q&A material with Stephanie Sinclair).

 

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