“I stopped my marriage and now I dream of a new life”

The consequences of the Corona pandemic are still significant, especially for girls. Because of prolonged school closures, isolation from friends, and increasing poverty, many girls are at greater risk of child marriage. Monalisa (15 years old) from Bangladesh managed to prevent her marriage.

In Bangladesh, the country with the fourth highest rate of child marriage in the world, child marriage has increased by a staggering 13 percent due to prolonged school closures across the country.

15-year-old Mona Lisa from Coregram discovered by chance that her parents were planning her wedding. One day, when I got home, I saw two strangers who had come to our house. After listening for some time, I understood that my parents were secretly arranging my marriage. ”

Mona Lisa (15 years) suspended her marriage

lack of protection

COVID-19 has profound effects on the lives of many girls. Corona measures such as travel restrictions and distancing are making it difficult to use health care or social services or get support from people in the area. As a result, there is no good protection against child marriage, unwanted pregnancy, and gender-based violence.

“I wanted to finish my school”

Mona Lisa was involved in many activities of Plan International’s Building Better Future for Girls project and thus was aware of her rights. She knew she could play a role in determining her future. “I was strongly against marriage and told my parents that I didn’t want to risk my life by getting married early. I wanted to fulfill my dream and finish school,” she explains.


Also Read: Ashfia Has Already Banned Nineteen Child Marriages

break the law

Despite constant pressure from her parents, Mona Lisa persisted, warning her parents that if they forced her into marriage, they would be breaking the law. “I told them I wasn’t old enough to get married and wouldn’t get married until I finished school.”

local hero

In the end, Mona Lisa’s parents accepted her decision and abandoned their plans for her wedding. Her friends and neighbors were amazed at her activity and determination, and Mona Lisa became a local heroine. The story of how she stopped her marriage was published in local newspapers.

Mona Lisa became a local hero

Building a better future

Through the Building a Better Future for Girls project, we focus on three main axes: the right to identity, protection and participation. The lack of this has resulted in girls in Bangladesh facing child marriage, the highest rate in Asia.


Read also: Just imagine: What would the world look like if you were in charge?

This is what Plan International does

By working with teenage girls, their families, and the people around them, we ensure that girls get the skills they need. This way they can protect themselves from child marriage and other harmful gender norms and practices, so that they can determine their own future.

We also ensure girls are valued, support fighting gender stereotypes and take action against child marriage as soon as they are reported. Protection and reporting systems have also been strengthened at various levels to address and respond to violations of children’s rights, particularly in the areas of child marriage and birth registration.


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Breaking stereotypes

Mona Lisa is now in her final year of high school and is at the top of her class. She also participates in a number of extracurricular activities at Plan International, including inter-school debate competitions, workshops and girls’ soccer. It also educates girls about the negative consequences of child marriage and encourages them to continue attending school.

Mona Lisa is now looking to her future and hopes to continue her studies and go to university. “Now I dream of a new life. I would like to work for a development organization and change the stereotypes and ideas of society.”

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