Poverty was a theme in many of these girls’ lives; many described going hungry, and some parents said they had married off girls because they could not feed them.
Some girls said they welcomed a child marriage because they hoped it might mean they had more to eat, a hope that was not always fulfilled. In some communities it is seen as “normal” for girls to marry immediately after they reach puberty; in some areas girls marry even earlier.
Usually it refers to a situation where the two spouses have decided themselves to get married, sometimes over the opposition of one or both of their families.
Although different from arranged marriages, love marriages among children are often triggered by the same social and economic factors.
Although our interviewees came from a range of ethnic and caste backgrounds, the majority of the married children we interviewed were from Nepal’s Dalit or indigenous communities, a reflection of the fact that child marriage is more prevalent in marginalized and lower caste communities.Sharmila G., 14, eloped at age 12 and married an 18-year-old man.At the time this picture was taken she was seven months pregnant.She said that when rumors spread in her village about her relationship with her then-boyfriend, her parents tried to separate them, so they eloped.Sharmila said sheregrets marrying early and leaving school.