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Ria the cricket player

24 April 2024, Impact of Our Work

Batting away child marriage in Nepal

“When we’re playing cricket, we hit [the] ball away with our bat. Similarly ... we can hit away the child marriage”  says 16-year-old Ria.* Her new passion has come to mean so much more than just sport.

Ria initially faced resistance from her parents and community in Nepal. “When we started to play cricket, some older boys used to say, ‘You won’t achieve anything by playing. Go home, cook and eat’ ... But now ... We practice here, go to other places to play, and we come back winning,”  Ria explains. 

Changing the status quo

Child marriage is deeply rooted in traditional practices and gender norms in Nepal, and is exacerbated by the financial situations of families, making it a challenging issue to address. But thanks to our kind supporters, Save the Children and our local partner, Sabal Nepal, formed the first girls’ cricket team to help combat early marriage. 

Ria,* 16, getting ready for her cricket match with her team in Nepal.
Photo: Suzanne Lee / Save the Children.

Ria not only started playing cricket but also became the chairperson of her Child Club: a group of young campaigners set up by our team in Nepal. After four years of awareness-raising and action, Ria’s efforts not only changed her parents’ views but also those of the community, and her district declared itself the first to be child marriage-free in the region. 

When my community is declared as free from child marriage, all the children … will be able to go to school. They will be able to fulfil their dreams.


Building a future free of child marriage

Ria and her community continue to work with Save the Children to stay child marriage-free. Their approach is being used as a model for other areas of Nepal, building a movement to end child marriage. Seven other districts are preparing to declare themselves free from child marriage in the next three years.

Learn more about Ria’s story and see her team in action in the video below.

*Name has been changed to protect identity. 

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