Nel Hedayat goes on a compelling and revealing journey to find out what life is really like for a child bride. Across the world, 10 million girls a year marry under the age of 18. That’s one every three seconds.
Nel travels to India and Bangladesh, countries with two of the highest rates of child marriage in the world. She is no stranger to the idea of child marriage – her aunty and grandmother were child brides – but what she sees challenges everything she thought.
She attends the eye-opening wedding of two sisters in Rajasthan, one barely in her teens and her even younger sibling. In Bangladesh, she meets a 14-year-old girl who was married last year to a 19-year-old man and is now four months pregnant. Nel meets women who regret missing out on a childhood and an education, and learns that early marriage frequently leads to early pregnancy and painful, life-threatening labours. The film features child brides in Bangladesh who give birth before their bodies are fully developed and can end up with a horrific medical condition that leaves them social outcasts.
But Nel also sees real signs of optimism. She meets a girl in Bangladesh who relishes the independence that working in Dhaka’s garment industry has given her, and encounters girls who have defied their families’ attempts to marry them off, including one in India who is part of a growing movement of rural girls who insist on staying on in school and gaining their education.