Aizan Development Foundation arranged an awareness raising session with community members on Child Marriages on 10th August 2015 at The Church of Maskeen Colony. In total there were more than 80 participants.
During previous interactions, it was felt that the issue of Child Marriages is largely present in the area. The main objective of the training session was to raise awareness regarding this issue among the community. Ms Shazia Jamal Programme Manager at ADF, started the session by providing an overview of Child Marriage across the globe and in South Asia. She spoke about the basic facts, provided statistics and shared real life examples in Pakistan. Consequences of Child Marriage, negative impacts and reasons why it should be abolished were also discussed.
The session was interactive, where participants shared their views and talked about their issues and why they choose to marry their children before the official age. Upon questioning, the following reasons were discovered:
- The majority of the children consisted of out of school children, who have no interests or other healthy activities to participate in.
- The reason why those children are not enrolled in any educational institution is because most of them were not registered at birth, which makes it impossible for them to get admitted into schools.
- Since they do not have the option of attaining their education, the majority of boys get involved in work/labor, and girls generally are forced or encouraged to marry at an early age.
A number of participants included individuals who had to marry at a very early age. Such participants shared their stories of how they were faced with physical, mental, as well as financial issues.
Laws on protecting Children were discussed. Impact of International Treaties and Conventions were highlighted. The conventions included the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR) were all topics discussed, highlighted and talked about.
By the end of the session, the majority of the audience understood and appreciated the negative impacts of early child marriages. They realized and recognized that early child marriages should be discouraged and that they all had a responsibility to ensure that the issue is curbed, raised and prevented.