The Nepalese child helpline CWIN tells the story of ‘Pushpa’*, a 16 year old girl from Nepal and the victim of forced child marriage. CWIN managed to help Pushpa through persistence and strong collaborative efforts. This example illustrates a very important contribution in the fight against child marriage.
Pushpa contacted CWIN because she needed help to annul her marriage. Pushpa told the staff that she had been sent home from school a few weeks earlier and found that her parents had arranged a marriage with a local man for that same afternoon. Pushpa did not want to get married at 16, but felt like she did not have a choice. She did not want to let her father down.
After the marriage ceremony, Pushpa moved back and forth between her parents’ home and her in-laws’ home for a few weeks. She tried speaking to her mother about wanting to annul the marriage, but her mother thought best to comply with Pushpa’s father’s wishes as there was a risk he could get violent if she defied him.
PUSHPA HAD ATTENDED TRAINING ON THE SUBJECT OF CHILD MARRIAGE AT CWIN
It became evident that the process of annulling the marriage was very complicated. It was concluded by CWIN and other organisations that the marriage was forced, something which is punishable by law in Nepal. Despite this, Pushpa and the child helplines faced strong resistance from authorities and individuals at various levels. With persistent effort and support from the staff at CWIN, in cooperation with a range of children and women’s rights organisations, Pushpa could finally have the marriage annulled. The family members who were responsible for the forced marriage were arrested.
*’Pushpa’ is a pseudonym