Getting married.. or going to school?

20 November 2018
Image by Darya Sazanovich for

Teacher Alma Amanova has worked for over 30 years in schools and colleges of Almaty. She has seen graduation ceremonies of several generations of students who now work in various professional areas. Alma has been a witness to changing lifestyles and habits of young people. However, what she has seen recently is very puzzling to her.

“I often see young girls who do their best and study well at the college and then they just stop coming to class. When I ask them what happened the answer I hear is that the girl had got married and won’t continue with her studies,” says Alma.

Alma says that very often married girls start wearing long dresses and scarves. Then they have babies and any talk of coming back to college just isn’t there.

“Nothing I saw in these girls before they married made me think they would marry so early and drop out of college. They used iPhones, had fun like all young people of their age, they liked dressing up and wearing makeup. After getting married many of them turn gloomy. I even start thinking that the marriage was a forced one, without love and consent,” the teacher says.

12 million girls in the world get married every day before they reach their 18th birthday. These are the latest findings by UNICEF. This undermines personal development of girls, threatening their health and well-being. Specialists say that a child marriage is often a forced marriage. There is rarely a union of two loving people in a child marriage. Furthermore, minors can’t give their full and informed consent to get married. This is why such union is a violation of human and children’s rights.

When UNFPA surveyed adult women who had married when they were minors, these are the answers that were received:

«At 15 one wants to live and have fun like their peers. My friends and I wanted to finish school, then go to university, graduate, work and, of course, fall in love and get married. I didn’t know that it would end up being like this. It’s hard to talk about it. How would you like it – washing the floors every day, cleaning the house, never leaving home and not talking to anyone?»

“I had just turned 16 when I had a son. My daughter was born two years later. Both pregnancies were unplanned. I had problems during the pregnancies and after delivery. But my mother-in-law thought that there wasn’t anything to worry about”.

“I became a mother very early in my life, when I myself was a child, at 16. I haven’t seen anything in life. I missed the best time in my life …».