Kolponna is 18 yet she has already been married for over 2 years and has a 14 month old baby. Her arm is badly cut due to a kitchen accident, but her husband has done nothing given his own misunderstandings and cultural stigmas.
Kolponna's mother expresses her distress. She has taken her daughter into her own home for a few months to help care for the 18 year olds needs as well as those of her grandchild. There are many emotional and physical wounds. The burden is overwhelming, yet Kolponna is not alone in what she is facing.
In Bangladesh, there are many girls who are promised in marriage before the legal age of 18.
Unaware of the consequences following such an action there is a great need for increased education and sharing between family members. Women who participate in FH training groups are instructed about problems associated with early marriage and given council on how to deal with the issue.
Kolponna's mother has recently become a part of an FH savings group and now better understands some of the problems that have resulted from her family's decision. The law leader in her group has become an advocate to stop child marriages. Just a few weeks ago this leader approached a community member and family, persuading them to wait before giving their young daughter away. This was not easy to do, and required a lot of confidence, she explains there was a great sense of urgency following the training session she had previously attended.
"We practice the trainings we receive," the leader says. "We try to protect people in our community who are in complicated situations."
The understanding is there and despite societal norms, it is time for change. Bit by bit this is starting to happen.