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Child Brides

Update: Habi, Mamta and Sunita

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News about the Individuals Featured in "Child Brides: Stolen Lives"

Habi with IOWD Nurse Njoki Ng'ang'a
Habi with IOWD Nurse Njoki Ng'ang'a
Habi

Habi is happy, safe and still recovering at Niamey Hospital, report staff from the International Organization from Women's Development. Her fistula has been repaired. However, she continues to suffer from debilitating fistula symptoms so the hospital is waiting to see if medication, exercise and time will help her. She has other women with whom she has much in common for company —and her mother is with her. When she first arrived at the Niamey Hospital, she remained in the corner, depressed and not speaking. Slowly, after numerous blood transfusions and intravenous antibiotic treatments, did Habi finally begin to speak. Now she is always smiling.

Sunita
Sunita

Sunita is thriving. She is a regular student at college and doing well in her studies. She is also enrolled in a computer course at a private technical school, which is being funded by the Veerni Project. She is a cadet of the National Cadet Corps. At the Veerni hostel, Sunita tutors the juniors girls in their work on computers. She has been especially supportive of Mamta as she adjusts to life at the hostel.

Mamta
Mamta

Mamta's journey has been difficult. She is not receiving a lot of support to attend school. Her mother does not see the value of an education and wants her at home to do housework. Mamta is also under pressure from her peer group in her village to return home. As a result, her mother has removed Mamta from school twice. With intervention from the Veerni Project, her mother was persuaded to return Mamta to the hostel. According to the wardens, Mamta has been happy in the hostel and making friends. However, her mother did not send her back after the winter holidays and she missed two weeks of school. Mamta only returned after members of the Veerni staff enlisted the assistance of members of the upper castes in her village who put pressure on Mamta's mother. We have no guarantee that Mamta will remain in school. Mamta's experience illustrates the difficulties girls face in accessing education in India and especially in the very conservative culture of the villages that the Veerni Project covers.