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Bangladesh: Tale of A Child Mother

Photo: ©2013 Lipy Mary Rodrigues/World Vision

Photo: ©2013 Lipy Mary Rodrigues/World Vision

Sobita Roy, is barely 16 years old, and she already has a four year old son. Sobita was robbed of her childhood when she became a child bride.

When Sobita was young, her mother, seeing no alternative, arranged a marriage with the assistance of one of her friends. Sobita says, “They convinced me, telling that he is a gentleman, has property and a house in village, so I will stay there in riches. Moreover their demand of dowry is a smaller amount. So it happened with me finally. Within one night distance I have transformed into a women from a girl.”

Nearly 66 percent of all women in Bangladesh get married before they attain the legal age of 18 years. Around 40 percent of girls give birth before the age of 18.

Shortly thereafter, Sobita’s life turned upside-down. She shares: “The money that my husband got as dowry was totally spent. So we had difficulty buying daily necessaries like food and clothes. By the by, I came to know that my husband is addicted and involved with illegal business. Once he was arrested by the police in accusation of carrying marijuana.” Both her husband and mother-in-law started torturing her, both physically and mentally.

Gradually, Sobita’s health detoriated. She left and gave birth to her first child, Dev, in her mother’s house. After few months she went back to her husband’s house, but in a frail physical condition and poor health. And she conceived again. This time she could not save her child, who was born sick and passed away after one week of delivery.

Adolescent pregnancy is more frequent among poor and less educated girls like Sobita Roy. It has been observed that early marriage is one of the reasons why babies born to adolescent mothers are more likely to be a low birth weight with an increased risk of infant mortality.

Her marriage ended after the death of her second baby – a loss she is still grieving – and Sobita now lives with her mother. They are unable to manage more than one meal a day. Sobita is illiterate and struggles to find work. Her health condition is poor, and she has to spend some of what little money they have on medicine.

But despite the hardships, Sobita is optimistic for her son Dev’s future. She and her son Dev now regularly attend classes through the assistance of World Vision. The school also provides them with snacks so Sobita no longer worries about providing breakfast.

Sobita has joined the fight against early marriage and adolescent pregnancy. She does not want any girl to suffer from her childhood. Sobita has a request to all parents: “Let your daughter grow as a child, not like an unfortunate child mother like me.”

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