Sajeda becomes role model stopping 107 child marriages
The name of Sajeda Akhter, an intermediate student of Barguna Government College, is now stand for bravery as she thwarted 107 child marriages risking her life.
After being saddened with plights of females, who got married in their childhood, Sajeda has decided her destination to change the society with stopping such unwanted marriages.
Sajeda, daughter of a rickshaw-puller, has set an example for others showing her rare human quality driven from the sufferings of other girls who got married in their childhood.
Sajeda felt to stop early marriage after witnessing deaths of many girls while giving birth to babies as well as her own sister’s agony in marriage life.
She then started reading health-related newspapers, listening radios and talking with health workers in a bid to know the adverse impact of child marriage.
Being informed about the adverse impact of child marriage, she involved herself in the noble cause of stopping child marriages and consequently earned ‘International Children Peace Prize’ for her contribution towards protecting child rights.
Sajeda started working with Plan International in 2007 and became member of its child unit in 2009. The organisation made her president of local unit seeing her organisational capacities. She has also become member of Kishore-Kishore (teenagers’) club at her village.
She has widened her activities with help of the organisation and 100 more girls has joined their hands with her in conducting large scale campaign to create awareness of stopping child marriages by holding dramas, meetings and singing programmes at different villages.
After being encouraged by activities of Sajeda and her group many villagers have extended their support in the endavour.
Nothing could stop her to go forward despite several attacks on her house by miscreants. She got nomination for International Children Peace for her bravery and contribution to protect child rights. Pakistani national Malala Yousafzai got the prize in 2013.
Sajeda said, “People, who were against my activities, are now giving supports to carry out my activities.”
Talking about Sajeda’s struggle to stop child marriage, Deputy Commissioner of Barguna said, “Sajeda has set a rare example for the society with her activities. Many dropped out children have returned to their classes due to her initiatives.”
According to UNICEF, 66 percent female children under ages of 18 are being fell victims of child marriage in Bangladesh. The rate is 69 percent in rural areas. The rate of child marriage was 68 percent in 2004 while 64 percent in 2009 and the rate had increased to 66 percent in 2011.
The government has taken various steps to stop child marriage. Government Innovation Unit (GIU) involving 10 ministries at Prime Ministers’ Office (PMO) has taken some timely measures to address the issues properly. The GIU has already conducted a research through which the causes of child marriages come to the light.
According to the research, simple way of child marriage, having no scope to cancel child marriage after knowing the exact age, not verifying and preserving the necessary documents of marriage, having no registration of a big portion of marriage, having misconception on court marriages and having no affidavits, are the main reasons behind child marriage.
As many as 20,000 imams across the country have been imparted with training about the adverse impact of child marriages as imams are mainly registering the marriages, GIU sources informed. Three lakh more imams will be given the training.
As many as 480 advisory meeting have so far been held at 18 districts about the adverse impact of child marriage. Under the project of Enabling Child Rights, Taka 36000 had been given to each of 20,425 children under age between 6 and 15.