A Life with Hope, Untangled from Underage Marriage

In Bangladesh, arranged marriage is seen as a blessing to the family of young girls, who are often below the legal age of marriage.

Rainy is an Indian girl living in the slums of Bangladesh. Her family is of the lowest caste and could only sustain themselves by doing corpse clearers and janitorial works. They were forbidden from interacting with their community and the women in the family were not allowed outside. Rainy’s parents believed that arranging a marriage for her is a blessing to the family, and was conceivably grateful when they found a man in a rich family proposing to Rainy when she was 15, who recalled, “I was only a kid at the age of 15, I didn’t want to get married yet.” Despite her obvious reluctance and concerns, Rainy’s parents proceeded to arrange for the wedding ceremony. Fortunately, SATHI’s staff visited them in the process and explained to them the drawbacks and unlawfulness of underage marriage, which consequently led them to give in and cancelled the marriage.

Rainy is one of the few lucky girls in Bangladesh who escaped the fate of arranged marriage at a young age, who subsequently finished her high school despite the demeaning tradition.

CEDAR’s partner, SATHI, is an active advocate of the rights and freedom of young girls of Bangladesh, who tirelessly guides them in reflecting upon their own lives and believes, and training them to be the leaders in fighting back the derogative traditions through various youth groups and fellowships. Rainy attended one of the groups, and her mother and older sister did so soon after. They learned about children rights and cultivated mutual understandings. “I want to become a nurse,” said Rainy, who is now a helper in events that raise awareness in the community, in the hope of changing her society for the better and giving children the chance to a better education.

Verses for Reflection:

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10b)

Jesus has come to give us truth, freedom, and life. We know for a fact that He wants to bless the underprivileged as much as He does to us, where they should enjoy a more fruitful life with more choices and freedom.

Thanksgiving and Prayer Items:

  • Praise the Lord for the young girls who could be free from arranged marriage. Pray for His continued provision and protection to the staff and group members of SATHI, and His work in people’s hearts so more could become aware of proper children rights. Pray for the tight connections between our partner and the families that would protect the future of children from arranged marriage and mistreatment.
  • Pray that God would continue to use the fellowships where the young ones would be equipped and grow to become influential leaders, who would reform the society and purge harmful traditions.