Escaping Child Marriage
Sheskalo Pandey, 17, on her way back home in Pandahawa, Lumbini region, Nepal.
When Sheskalo said to her parent she wouldn’t drop out of school to get married like they wanted her to, her father gave her a chance and spent all his savings to buy her a bicycle so she could start a business on her own to pay for her school fees. « My parents used to discriminate against myself and my brother. They didn’t want to send me to school for nearly as long as him, or to give me the same opportunities – mostly because of money. They wanted me to get married. Two of the girls I walked to school with had dropped out of our class to get married, and my family decided I should probably leave too. They said that it was expensive – and that walking in on my own was too dangerous in case I was raped. I think they thought I’d be happy because I could plan a wedding instead.
But I’ve had enough of being treated like I’m worth less because I’m a girl, so 18 months ago, I started my own business to pay for my school fees. After finishing my chores every day, I sit in the porch and make rugs and bowls and calendars and incense, then at weekends I take them to the local market and sell them to people for a fair price. Now I’ve saved enough money to pay for an evening course in commerce and computers. It’s hard work sometimes, but I don’t mind. Dropping out of school and getting married would have been so much worse. »
Small investments can sometimes lead to great achievements.
Words @corinneredfern @guardian #1day1will