Posts Tagged ‘nepal’

Kidnapped at 13: Nepal’s Dalit child brides

On a freezing night three years ago, 13-year-old Susmita Kami sneaked out of her husband’s house and didn’t stop running until she reached her parents’ doorstep in Nepal’s remote northwest.

Her escape from a forced marriage — a tradition many teenage girls from the Himalayan nation’s Dalit community are expected to uphold — was soon under threat. But Susmita’s parents resisted demands from her in-laws to send her back, deciding to stand by their pleading daughter who desperately wanted a better life.

Susmita Kami, who three years ago as a 13-year-old snuck out of her husband's house and fled to her parents' home to escape a forced marriage, walks home fro...

Susmita Kami, who three years ago as a 13-year-old snuck out of her husband’s house and fled to her parents’ home to escape a forced marriage, walks home from school with a friend ©Prakash Mathema (AFP)

“I told them I never wanted to get married and I wasn’t going back. I ran away because I wanted to stay in school,” Susmita, now 16, told AFP. Although Nepal banned child marriage in 1963, four out of ten girls are married before they turn 18, according to UNICEF.

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How One Woman Escaped Forced Marriage and Thrived

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it,” said Nelson Mandela. Nasreen Sheikh is, undoubtedly, one of the most courageous people I have ever met. She is a social entrepreneur living in Nepal and is subverting the typical role of a woman in her society. She is changing the lives of dozens of women in Nepal and has a goal to help hundreds more. This is Nasreen’s story.


Nasreen Sheikh_Halo Project

At 23 years of age, Nasreen Sheikh radically redefines what it means to be a Nepali woman. She is a Sunni Muslim living in a predominately Hindu community and is the founder of a fair-trade sewing collective called Local Women’s Handicrafts, based in the country’s capital of Kathmandu. The company sells bags, scarves, wallets and shirts; and only employs women from disadvantaged backgrounds. The business focuses on empowering and educating women with the intent to change the cultural and social norms in Nepal.


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