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A 12-year-old hero fights child marriage

A true hero is 12-year-old Oli Ahmed who campaigns against child brides in the Dhaka slum where he lives in Bangladesh.[i] Parents marry off young girls so they won’t have to pay a dowry and pay for school expenses. He was motivated by sadness and anger when a girl who was like an older sister to him was forced to get married and not be seen again. He spoke with NGO Plan International workers proposing that he set up a children’s group which goes door or door persuading parents to wait until the legal marriage age of 18. Oli reports,  “I think we do a better job than the adults… the adults think we’re so young and yet we know so much… we’re more enthusiastic than the older people. I feel very good that a girl’s life has been saved because of the work that I’ve done.” An NGO worker says that since the children started work, the number of child marriages in that area has dropped by as much as 50%.

[i] Angus Crawford, “Child Marriages Blish Bangladesh,” BBC News, April 21, 2012.



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