Saira is fifteen years old and belongs to a very poor and religious family. She has 8 siblings, four brothers and four sisters. In Saira’s hometown, Muzaffargarh, girls are often married before they reach their sixteenth birthday. Most of the parents in her community view child marriage as a way out of poverty and insecurity. All of Saira’s sisters are victims of early marriage and same case was going to happen with her. Saira’s parents were to marry her with a thirty five years old man. On knowing this, she felt devastated as she wanted to continue her studies.
Bedari is spreading awareness in the community regarding early marriages and its impacts on the life of girl, boy and family as a whole through Child Protection Committees and Peer educators. Saira was well aware of the consequences of child marriage because her life was spent looking at the problems her sisters were going through because of early marriage. They not only had problems with the responsibilities but with health as well. She was terrified to bear this huge responsibility.
Saira was passionate, stirred and wanted to explore the world and new ideas. She came to one of Bedari’s CPC member, Ms. Maqsooda Mai, for help. She asked her to visit her home and convince her family to delay the marriage.
Ms. Maqsooda Mai discussed this matter with Bedari team on urgent basis. Bedari team headed towards Saira’s home and held a meeting with her family. Bedari representative mobilized them about the bitter reality of problems girls face due to early marriage. The entire family was now aware of the importance of education and the health issues girls face being a child bride. Through this pebble in the stagnant water and looking at the consequences the young married daughters faced, her mother broke down crying. She admitted that her elder daughters are also victims of child marriage and their lives are miserable. They were too young to bear the responsibilities of a married life and now she can’t let the same happen with Saira. Her family promised to delay the marriage for four to five years until Saira completes her education.
Hearing this, Saira came running to one of the Bedari’s team member and hugged her. She was very happy and she paid her heartfelt gratitude to Bedari for saving her future.