Religious Nepalese leaders condemning child marriage

With the support of Her Choice alliance member ICDI, CWIN interviewed four Dharma Gurus from four different religions about their opinion about child marriage. They all agree that child marriage has to be stopped. They’re not only condemning it, they also actively call upon parents and religious leaders not to marry off their children. 

Even though child marriage is considered as a punishable crime in Nepal, child marriage is still prevailing in Nepalese society. Poverty, strict gender roles, religion, cultural and religious superstition and traditional practices like the dowry system all have a role to play in preserving traditional beliefs about child marriage.

Grassroots approach

Her Choice aims for behavioral change in communities by raising awareness of parents, boys, teachers, health care workers, religious leaders and other relevant community members on girls’ rights and the detrimental effects of child marriage. Therefore, these stakeholders form an integral part of our grassroots approach and ultimately become the driving forces in stopping child marriage.

‘We should all act together and stop it’

  • Buddhist Dharma-Guru Vikchhuni Viryawati: ‘Parents should only let their children married after they learn and understand the wish and opinion of their children, they should never force them. If a girl who knows nothing about the meaning of home and family, is given responsibility to run the family and give birth to children, they’re compelled to live their life as hell.
  • Islam Dharma-Guru Alauddin Ansari: ‘In Islam community, child marriage is said to be false and wrong, both Koran and Hadis have forbidden child marriage. Child marriage is harmful for us, for society, for economic stability and socially.’
  • Hindu Dharma Guru Damodar Gautam: ‘In Hindu philosophy and culture there is no place for child marriage. The appropriate age to marry is set to be after 25. Child marriage is a serious crime, it hampers ones mentality, education, fertility and health.’
  • Christian Dharma Guru father Solash Bogati: ’In catholic church our minimum age for marriage is 19. Undoubtedly child marriage is a crime. We should all act together and stop it. We should all bring awareness in society, so that these acts of crime are stopped.’