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Rubina’s story, Pakistan

Photo: ActionAid Pakistan

Rubina’s story was kindly shared by our member Action Aid

Rubina got married when she was just 12 years old to a husband of the same age. As a child, she did not know what marriage meant. It brought a shocking change in her life. Her husband could not promise her a dignified living as he himself was unemployed and a child.

Rubina’s mother-in-law would abuse her for not being able to concentrate on daily household chores. Her husband would have regular fights with her over petty issues such as the food not meeting his expectations or she failed to please her mother-in-law who used to find issues of conflict on a daily basis.

“Giving birth to a child while myself being a child, was the most painful experience of my life. I was married at a time when I did not have the slightest idea of what marriage meant. I was not happy but could not say no to my parents. It was an exchange marriage which is a very bad tradition of our society.

In early days of marriage, my husband used to have serious fights with me. We were so poor, he could not even give me a single penny or buy anything for me. I was not allowed to play with children my age, because I was expected to behave like a mature woman, which I was not. Health complications erupted and there was a serious impact on my physical and mental strength. There is no health facility in our village which added to my untold miseries.

I was not allowed to play with children my age, because I was expected to behave like a mature woman, which I was not.


Floods brought more unhappiness and dissatisfaction in my life. Even my father-in-law lost his job and we were absolutely penniless. I thank ActionAid for reaching out to us when we did not have anything to eat or drink. They provided my family with food and non-food items which turned out to be the most crucial support for us. We spent many nights under the open sky. I was pregnant then, and it was a very difficult time. I was scared of the high waters, hunger and disease.

I am grateful to ActionAid and BRDS (Badin Rural Development Society) staff for organizing us and extending the most needed support during hard days of life when there was flood water all around us.

I attend VDO meetings regularly and vigorously advocate against early marriage, which can be disastrous for girls. My parents did not see the hardships and were determined to repeat the same mistake again by marrying off my sisters who were even younger than I was.

Along with other members of village community organization, I convinced my parents to hold off their decision. I am very happy that it saved my younger sisters from the evil though common trap of early marriage. I wish I could convince all parents not to marry their young daughters at an early age.”