“I want the world to know I am 13. I was married at the age of eight to a 29 year old man. I was sold for three goats and one cow. Now, I have a 10 month old baby.”- Sonamoni, Bangladesh
Sonamoni’s wedding day was meant to be one of the happiest days of her life but it turned out to be one of her last days of freedom. Standing at the altar, she knew she was about to leave the comfort and support of her family.
She would be pulled out of school, forced to abandon her dreams and pressured into having a baby at just 13 years old, before her body was ready. “I spent three months in hospital after childbirth due to bleeding,” she says.
Sonamoni wasn’t old enough to have a baby - not physically and not emotionally - but she barely had a choice. Now she needs care, support and protection. She deserves to be at school, laughing with friends and learning to build the future she wants.
UNICEF is working in Bangladesh right now to help girls like Sonamoni. We’re educating parents on the risks of child marriage, we’re funding local youth groups to empower girls at risk and we’re working to strengthen and enforce laws that establish 18 as the minimum age for marriage.