Rinku Thakur – Administrative Officer

When I was 13 years old, my parents were trying to force me to get married. However, I declined the proposition and convinced my parents to let me continue my studies. Again, when I was 17 my family, community, and everyone around me tried to force me to get married, but yet again, I refused.

Saying “no” to a decision made by parents is not common in my community where girls are not allowed to say “no” in relation to decisions made about their lives.

I tried to convince everyone that I intend to study and of my desire to be an independent individual, as I have seen a lot of violence in my community against women. I asked for help from some social activists who were working for child rights and girls rights but I did not get the support that I needed. They too said that I had to get married and be obedient to my parents.

My decision turned into a nightmare. I was locked in a room for a day and was threatened by a family member who coerced me by saying that if I did not agree to get married then there would be a danger to my life. However, I did not give up, and I made a decision to leave home with the help of the police and stay in a shelter nearby. Living in a shelter among the same community was not practical, as those who were there side-lined me while passing remarks.

“A girl leaving the house creates a bad impression on the family,” they said.

After such experience, I decided to shift cities to another shelter and started my further studies, studying for a bachelor’s degree. I’m the 1st child in my family to have completed a bachelor’s degree.

After that I decided to work in my hometown, Birgunj, where Our Sansar has projects aimed at helping vulnerable children. I hope through my work I can motivate and empower other girls too and that with time the issue of child marriage will be eliminated.

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