“I don’t remember how many nights I couldn’t sleep” said Farah*, whom I interviewed when I first investigated the issue of child marriage in Bangladesh.
I asked Farah, who told me she was 14 or 15 year old and had married six months earlier, to write down anything she wanted—in the small note book that I carried with me. She went to her room for privacy and wrote down the aforementioned quote. 
I perceived this as a piercing call for help. She could not express her struggles in front of her family, but she confided in me the everyday pain and suffering she endures. This moment touched me, and drives me to further research and photograph the social issues of child marriage which are ingrained in South Asian culture and traditions.

Girls attending a special prayer in a village near Thakurgaon in the North of Bangladesh.

Girls and boys are dancing while attending a Marriage close to Thakurgaon in the north of Bangladesh.

I went to the region of Northern Bangladesh, and discovered that child marriage is widespread. In some villages I found married, underage, girls in almost every house I entered. Child marriage results from gender inequality, poverty, a lack of education, cultural practices, and insecurity—this is why marrying-off children has become a survival mechanism for many families. “Each year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18. That is 23 girls every minute. Nearly 1 every 2 seconds. 1 in 5 girls In the world are said to be married before 18.*”
Child marriage is happening in big numbers, it is the norm in many households and communities, it happens behind closed doors in the privacy of what we call home. 
Girls that get married at a very young age are often deprived of their right to education and freedom of movement. With my photographic approach to this subject, I intend to show the social, emotional and physical impact of child marriage, sometimes even long after the marriage itself.

Aaditya* is 15 years old and she refused to marry. Till this day she is still not married and continues her education. Many girls living in rural parts of Bangladesh are encouraged by different kinds of Bangladeshi and international organisations to do the same. 

Ranya* is 20 years old and got married 8 years earlier. She has one child of 5 years old and lives with her husband. In this photo she is holding her sister's child, her sister commited suicide one year ago. Before she died she told her mother that she is constantly fighting with her husband.
Her son still calls his mothers name.

*Saliha (middle) is 15 years old. She got married half a year ago. Together with her friends ( who are not older then 12 or 13 years) she shows me the area in which they live. Her husband works in Dhaka and is almost never at home.

 A village near Thakurgaon in the north of Bangladesh.

Aashni got married 10 year ago and is now 22 years old. She has 2 children. the youngest child is 3,5 years old and the oldest child 7 years old.

Tripty* is 22 years old and has one daughter who is 5 years old. She got a divorce becasue she was constantly being abused by her husband. Now she has to earn a living for her familly, she only earns 100 Taka per day.

Drawing of a girl wearing the traditional clothing that women and girls wear once they’re married. 
Sadia is 29-30 years old and has 3 children. Her elder daughter is 18 years old. She got married 20 or 21 years ago.
*All the names mentioned above have been altered 
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