Sultana Batool – the girl saved from teenage marriage – is now earning a decent living


imageedit_1_8598753578Sultana* wanted to study further but her parents had other plans for her. As they could not afford to keep her in school, they had selected a groom for her and wanted to marry her off as soon as possible so that they could have one less mouth to feed. Sultana was in deep trouble and just did not know if there was any way out of this difficult situation.

That was the time when Bedari, with support from Girls Education International, announced scholarship program for girls who had completed their primary education in Laphi – Sultana’s village. She applied for the program and got selected. Next step was to convince her parents to delay her marriage and let her continue with her education. It was a difficult part but the local volunteer of Bedari pulled some right strings i.e. discussed the matter with elderly people of the community who, then, talked to Sultana’s parents, and got their consent. In a matter of a few weeks, all the formalities were completed, and she was back in school.

She made the most of the opportunity, cleared her secondary school exam and requested Bedari for support for another two years to do her higher secondary certificate necessary for graduation. Bedari, seeing her passion, decided to continue the support, which resulted in successful completion of her higher secondary level education as well.

Support from Bedari came to an end at that point. But Sultana’s passion for further education had swelled even further. She was again in a difficult situation. Seeing her passion, her family got together and discussed different options. The largest chunk of expenditure on her education was actually on her daily travel from her village to her college in the nearby town. If that expense could be avoided, the family could afford to continue her education (Bedari was paying for her transportation before).

At that point, her grandmother stepped in. She lived in the same town near Sultana’s prospective College. The Grandmother offered her home to Sultana, so she did not have to take a van daily but could walk to and from college. Sultana happily accepted her offer. She started living with her grandmother. Her uncle provided her with books. She walked to her college daily and visited her parents on weekends. In another two years, she did her graduation.

Now she is 20 years old and ready to take up the responsibilities of a married life. However, life presented her with another opportunity. An NGO wanted to establish an adult literacy center in the neighboring village, and was looking for a teacher. As it failed to find a well-educated female teacher in that village, it started looking for one in the neighboring village, and came to know about Sultana. She was immediately hired and sent for basic training in adult literacy. She has completed her training and is now teaching at the Adult Literacy Center. It is difficult for her to hide her joy. Now she is completely ready to take up the responsibilities of married life.

Sultana* – the name has been changed to protect her identity and privacy.