66% of girls are married by the time they turn 18 in Bangladesh; 32% marry before 15.
Plan Bangladesh has been working in Bangladesh to help poor children access their rights to health, education, economic security and protection and we have helped to lower the number of child marriages in the provinces where we work. However, given that the rate of child marriage in Bangladesh is one of the highest in the world, this is still a cause of concern and more can be done to create awareness and compel action.
The photo essay “Robbed” chooses to focus on one of the repercussions of child marriage, which is adolescent motherhood. It has been a painful journey for most, if not all of the child brides featured in this story. However differently they cope with their ailments, all of them live with similar memories of their childhood – one that was prematurely robbed from them. They are still children; how can they be thrust into the role of a wife, let alone a mother?
It has been a humbling journey hearing from these young mothers. Most of whom are happy to be given an outlet and a platform to share their stories and their personal struggles as a young mother. And it is these stories that I would like to share. This, is their voice.
PHOTO CREDIT: Bernice Wong / Plan Bangladesh
Want to find out more about Plan Bangladesh's work on child marriage? Watch "The wedding busters", a youth group stopping child marriages, one at a time.
In the time it has taken to read this article 15 girls under the age of 18 have been married
Each year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18
That is 23 girls every minute
Nearly 1 every 2 seconds
Bernice Wong is a professional photographer.