No one could blame Amaranth Yadav for not remembering his wedding day. After all, he was just 7 years old and still half asleep.
What he won’t forget are the years that followed—the anger he felt because his wife, who was also a child, was never allowed to go to school. He resented how fast he had to grow up and all the pressure placed on him to succeed. And most of all he resented being forced into a life he didn’t choose.
But as the groom, at least Amaranth got to go to school and get a college degree. Today, at 27, he’s using his education to fight against child marriage by working with CARE’s Tipping Point—a project addressing child marriage through advocacy—and he now lives with his wife and kids in Nepal.
Amaranth was relatively fortunate. The brides don’t usually fare as well. Consider:
- Almost 39,000 girls become child brides every day
- 1 in 9 girls is forced into marriage before she’s 15
- 142 million children will be married by 2020
Girls married before their 18th birthday don’t often complete their secondary education, let alone college. And they’re at a higher risk of being physically abused, contracting HIV, and dying while pregnant or giving birth.
But Amaranth is using his experience to help turn the tide. He’s teaching his neighbors how dangerous child marriage can be—for the boy and girl—and showing them sustainable alternatives to the practice. He’s even teaching his wife to read.
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