Ending Child Marriage in Bangladesh
In June 2017, Theatre for a Change signed a global Memorandum of Understanding with Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) to provide training and technical support to their youth leadership and sexual health programmes in select countries across Africa, Asia and the Pacific.
Our collaboration began in Dhaka, Bangladesh in September 2017, with Theatre for a Change training a group of 17 youth club leaders from Birampur, Parbatipur and Mongla Districts. The training focused on how to use Interactive Theatre for Justice as an advocacy tool to end child marriage and promote girls’ education. Bangladesh has the highest rate of girls being married under the age of 15 anywhere in the world.
The training equipped participants with the knowledge, attitudes and skills needed to set up and lead their own Interactive Theatre for Justice performance groups in their communities. These groups will learn how to devise and perform Interactive Theatre for Justice based on their own experiences, and will impact thousands of community members over the next 12 months.
A performance was given in Parbatipur on the last day of the training. A large audience of around 500 community members attended, including the Chief Imam, Chief of Police, District Councilwoman, and a visiting British MP – Dr. Rosena Allin-Khan – who has now become our Ambassador. At the suggestion of the audience, the power holders took part in changing the story to create more justice for the characters involved. The performance ended with the power holders making specific commitments to do more to end child marriage in their communities.
Watching this short film transports you to the heart of the performance in Parbatipur, and allows you to hear the local power holders and Dr. Rosena Allin-Khan speak about its impact, and the importance of preventing child marriage:
“I have never seen anything like what I have seen today. The calibre of the acting, the improvisation and the audience participation… It is through important work like this that together we understand and empower our community to work for our young men and women. Child marriage, as you all have heard and seen today, is a very serious issue” – Dr. Rosena Allin-Khan