Bijay Laxmi, 15 years old, has been married since she was 11. In a few months, she will move in with the family of a husband she doesn’t know. There, she will cook, clean, tend the livestock and, most likely, start having children of her own.
She knows giving birth at such a young age is dangerous, but the choice will be not hers.
“I’m sorry I was married young, but what can I do?” Bijay Laxmi asks. “I will try to convince my in-laws that it would be better if I started having children in four years.”
In Nepal, half of all girls are married by age 18, even though child marriage is against the law. Campaigns against the practice are starting to have an impact, and a growing number of girls, empowered to defend their rights, are resisting child marriage. But the change is coming too slowly and too late for many.