Meghla has two birth certificates.
The real one states that she’s just turned 18, but thanks to a corrupt Bangladeshi official, she also has one that says she’s now 22. Why?
The fake one would have facilitated her forced marriage when she was just 13. Pushed into marrying by her own family, Meghla’s mother threatened to kill herself if her daughter didn’t go through with the wedding.
Related Campaign: Join the fight against forced child marriage.
Speaking to Vice, Meghla explains how she managed to get out of it:
“On the day of the wedding, I had an exam at school. But after it was done, I didn’t go home—I hid all day with a friend. When I eventually went home that evening, my uncle slapped me. My mother left and didn’t speak to me for three months. I was banned from going to school.
I have a huge family, and everyone was putting pressure on me to get married, but I stayed strong against all of them. My mother eventually realized that she was wrong and reached out to me again.
Often, families don’t see the value in sending their kids to school because they don’t believe they’ll get a job at the end of it. In their thinking, the solution is to marry off the child, so it becomes somebody else’s problem to take care of.”
Meghla is now part of World Vision’s Children and Youth Forum, where she shares her story with young girls and their parents, warning them of the dangers of forced child marriage.
She’s even managed to stop 7 forced child marriages in the last 18 months.
Meghla recalled the case of one of her friends, who was just 13. Meghla says she found out about the marriage just two hours before the ceremony.
“There wasn’t enough time to convince the families to back out, so we went straight to the police. After a long discussion, we managed to convince the police to stop the wedding from going ahead,” she said.
Meghla added, “Where I’m from in Bangladesh, 40 percent of girls are married before they turn 18. That’s why this issue is so important to me.”
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