Victimised by child marriage

War Child Sri Lanka Jaffna anoniem

Photo: Jeppe Schilder

Structures to protect children and youth in Sri Lanka are still in need of repair. Tensions between minority and majority communities continue. And poverty has seen increasing numbers of children forced to grow up without parents or caregivers.

The legacy of the conflict has had a significant effect on children growing up in Sri Lanka. Structures to protect children and ensure their safety are still in need of repair - leaving them vulnerable to a variety of threats.

Child marriage is one particular threat - and is increasing as families struggle to survive. Members of our youth club in Batticaloa staged a play to explore the issue - with particular focus on how it affects the wider community.

““He tells her that a marriage has been fixed for her.”"
Thadshayni

Youth club member Thadshayni: “Early marriage remains an important issue in our community. In our play a child is playing with her friends when her elder brother arrives. He harasses her and forcibly takes her home. He tells her that a marriage has been fixed for her.”

“The father is addicted to alcohol - it is the brother who is instrumental in arranging the marriage. Government officers - as a last resort - use their authority to stop the marriage. They force them to abandon the idea. The family members realise then that they should not do this.”

“When we staged the play at Muravodai, a girl came forward and said that she was given in marriage at the age of 16. Her husband then abandoned her and her child. She asked us to continue our work to prevent other girls like her being victimised.”