A strong, confident young woman addresses a predominantly male audience in Pokhariya, southern Nepal.

Meet Chandra, who is currently taking part in our Interactive Theatre for Justice training in collaboration with Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) to prevent child marriage and promote girls’ education.

This International Women’s Day, and every day, Theatre for a Change is championing the incredible women and girls we work with around the world. We use a unique combination of drama and participatory learning to enable our participants to find their voice and advocate for their rights.

Just three weeks ago at the start of our training for 20 young people from across Nepal, 20-year-old Chandra was barely able to speak in front of the group. Now, Chandra is confidently using Interactive Theatre to influence community attitudes in favour of ending child marriage and supporting girls’ education. Nepal has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world – 37% of Nepalese girls are married before the age of 18.

Here, Chandra plays the protagonist in a performance telling the story of a bright, motivated 14-year-old school girl called Sarita. Sarita’s father arranges for her to marry a man twice her age, since he fears that if he waits any longer, he will be unable to afford to pay a dowry to the family of the groom, and dowry amounts increase with a girl’s age.

Sarita is withdrawn from school, and her new husband verbally and physically abuses her for not knowing how to do household chores and cook “properly”. She becomes pregnant and suffers from complications due to her young age, resulting in a miscarriage in the final scene.

This story was based on events from our participants’ own lives.

The campaign theme for International Women’s Day 2018 is #PressforProgress – focusing on progressive action to ensure global gender parity. Click here to visit the International Women’s Day website and make your personal commitment to promoting and accelerating gender equality.

We are inspired to see Chandra, and thousands of our participants like her, taking the lead on creating an equal world – where all women and girls have the opportunity to take charge of their own lives and thrive.

To support our work empowering the most vulnerable and marginalised women and girls to transform their future, please give a gift online today.