Last December, Pradeep Dongol, child protection officer at the Kathmandu-based Children and Women in Social Service and Human Rights (CWISH), received an urgent call from one of the NGO’s many offices in Nepal’s sprawling capital city.
Radhika Thapa was just 16 years old when she married a 21-year-old boy three years ago. Now, she is expecting a baby and is well into the last months of her pregnancy. This is not the first time she has been with child – her first two pregnancies ended in miscarriages.
Sabitri Kumari Das, a middle-aged mother of two, is rightfully worried about her two young daughters: both girls attend a public primary school in Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, and neither one of them seems to be advancing academically.
Bhagwati Adhikari was a teenager when she was married off to a village boy of the same caste. Just a few years later when she was in her early 20s, she became a widow. Her husband, who worked as a security guard in Kathmandu, was murdered. Adhikari was left alone to support her family.