Stopping Child Marriage in Bangladesh: Sharmin’s Story

Sharmin Akter is a student from Feni, Bangladesh who enrolled in our Sun Child Sponsorship Program in 2006. DCI sponsorship has provided Sharmin educational materials, family stipend, and after-school tutoring support, but due to her family’s dire poverty her parents were considering arranging an early marriage for her. One of our field officers learned this during a family visit and immediately brought Sharmin’s mother into DCI’s Family Support Program — a component of the Sun Child Sponsorship Program that gives parents of sponsored children financial support to start small businesses.

With seed money from DCI, Sharmin’s mother started a handicraft business with her neighbors and began contributing to the family, ensuring that Sharmin could stay in school. Through effective intervention, a promising student was saved from one of the worst child rights abuses facing young girls in Bangladesh.

Facts About Child Marriage in Bangladesh

  • Bangladesh has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world.
  • According the latest 2007 Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey (BDHS), 66% of women aged 20 to 24 were married before the age 18.
  • UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children 2011 report showed that one third of Bangladeshi women now aged between 20-24 were married by age 15.

There are so many girls in rural Bangladesh like Sharmin who face the threat of early marriage and need our urgent help. We do everything we can by constantly arranging discussions about the dangers of early marriage in our project areas. But because economic necessity is the main cause of this practice, we need your help as well: without the necessary funding for family support, girls like Sharmin may be forced to drop out and have their childhood taken from them.

Take Action!

One way you can help right now is to give $10 to provide a backpack to one of our sponsored children. By helping DCI provide school supplies for our students, we can allocate more resources to family support. Your contribution will be doubled during the month of September, thanks to our partner Inn at Seaside!