I had a chance recently to meet with a young girl student when I visited the Muong Kim junior secondary school #1, who surprised me during a school awareness-raising event where she used a picture to support her talk to other students. Showing a drawing, she explained, “My drawing show a young girl in her Thai ethnic costume working in a field with a little baby sleeping in a sack on her back while a boy is hoeing the soil. This girl quit school to get married and soon after has given birth to a baby”. Ha Thi Kim, who is 14 and an 8th grader, continued, “Their life is hard because the young couple has all kinds of worries like earning a living, and realizing they have no knowledge and experience at all to take care of the baby. Watching her friends still going to school every day and playing around, the girl recalls similar days not long ago, and she feels so sorry of her decision to quit school to get married. My picture’s message is this: ‘Stop child marriage’.” In fact, the drawing was titled, “Do not lose your future!” and it won the first prize of the drawing competition.
I approached Kim after her presentation and learned that she drew this picture based on a real story of a girl in her village who is just one year older and used to study in the same school. But, she quit school a year ago to get married to a young man in a neighboring village, where they now live and are working hard all the time in the fields. She feels very sorry for the girl and wants other girls in her school to not get married early.
Since she was very nervous in telling the story in her drawing, she was very surprised by her first prize. “When I stood on the stage it was the first time I had talked in front of so many people – my fellow students and teachers – and if I have a chance to do it again, I will try to do it better, especially if it is awareness-raising about child marriage, which is very useful, so I hope CWS will support for more school events in the future”. I completely agreed with her, and now we want to do more work with her and other schools, too.
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