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We've made it our mission to help empower girls and prevent future child marriages

In many South Asian cultures, the haldi ceremony is performed at weddings. Turmeric is used in this yellow paste and is believed to ward off evil spirits, promise a life of prosperity, and give the couple a beautiful glow. We think this tradition should be celebrated. However, there's a hidden truth that isn’t often talked about. Nearly 50% of girls in South Asia are married before their 18th birthday. We don't want something as beautiful as the haldi ceremony to be associated with child marriage.

It's time to redefine normal for girls in Bangladesh

Child marriage is a common practice in many communities in Bangladesh. Fueled by generations of poverty, this cycle is tied to low education levels and few economic opportunities, especially for girls. With limited choices for families, social customs that restrict the rights of women and girls are especially common, and prevent gender equality from flourishing.

More than one-fifth of girls in Bangladesh are married by the age of 15, the highest rate in the world

While the legal age of marriage in Bangladesh is 18 years old, 59% of girls are married by the time they turn 18. This number is higher in the country’s rural areas, where 71% of girls are married before the age of 18. The situation is made worse by a lack of availability and access to sexual and reproductive health information and services particularly for young, unmarried women.

The Aparajita Project

The only way to truly end gender inequality is to improve not only the conditions faced by women and girls but also their social positions – how they are valued in society. This requires us to dig deep and uproot the systemic inequalities that stop gender equality from thriving. Ending child marriage is a crucial part of this mission. Aparajita, a Bengali word meaning 'women who never accept defeat', is a five-year project that will focus on reaching over 200,000 children, especially girls, by 2022. Young girls will strengthen their agency, claim their right to say no to early marriage and pregnancy, and be supported to influence decision-makers on issues that affect them.

How Plan International Canada helps

- Build the agency of girls and boys to make decisions for their futures and to say ‘no’ to child marriage

- Mobilize families and communities to change attitudes and raise awareness of the harmful consequences of child marriage

- Scale up age verification and marriage registration systems to help leaders at all level of government to prevent child marriage

Your Purchase Helps

We donate 10% of our profits towards the Aparajita Project.
As today’s youth build their skills, understand and exercise their rights, they will be able to make informed choices about their futures, including if, when and whom to marry. Young girls and boys will become agents of change, supported at all levels of government, to help to prevent the practice and support of child marriage.