Meftahun Nahar, A Powerful Advocate for Child Rights
While addressing National Girl Child Day, Meftahun a child parliament speaker from Dhaka, Bangladesh said “If a girl gets the opportunities and rights, she can thrive and be protected from child marriage. I believe, girls can also advocate for their rights and change the attitudes of their parents and society.”
“I am now more confident than other girls as a child parliament speaker. I started working with children at the age of 14, being a National Children’s Task Force member. Then I was elected as a speaker, to represent all children as a leader” added Meftahun, age 17.
“I work to raise awareness about child marriage and during that work I observed that how girls become victims of child marriage. All the girls experience the same challenges when they get married before 18 and then soon become mothers. Being married, a girl cannot take her responsibility and depend on others. She has to drop out of school. In all the cases, a child often loses her life while giving birth. In most of the cases again the girls’ lives are uncertain for child marriage.
Meftahun feels strongly that a family plays an important role to end child marriage and to make the girls successful. She explained “A girl has no voice with her family to stop her marriage, but education and opportunities will empower her to change the life.”
“The special provision in the Child Marriage Restraint Act, which allows girls under 18 to marry with their parent’s consent will increase the misuse of special provision and child marriage. Beyond this, a girl will be forced into marriage with the excuse of any incident or rape.”
The children and youth can work together to raise the awareness so that no one supports the child marriage. She stressed that child marriage can never be a solution for the lives of the girls. Moreover, it will make them burden for the family.
Meftahun asserts that Child Parliament is an effective platform for highlighting child rights violations and providing opportunities for abolishing these violations. “This platform gives all children a voice, including those who live in remote areas of the country. The leadership skills I have gained through parliament will be useful in the future and to work towards the right career.”