Bridge of Hope Student Forced to Marry at Age 12
Gospel for Asia Newsletter

August 2013 • Vol. 9, No. 5

Bridge of Hope Student Forced to Marry at Age 12

Rashmi, 12, had already lost both her parents, yet her uncle wanted to take away one of the few things she had left. His greed cared nothing about her dignity.

Tragedy Wouldn’t Leave Her Alone

When Rashmi was only 4, her father died, and two years later, her mother got remarried to a man in another village. Rashmi’s mother left her with the girl’s grandparents, never to return. Growing up, Rashmi was deeply saddened that her mother never even came back to find out how she was doing.

Joy crept back into Rashmi’s life in 2008, when she joined Gospel for Asia’s Bridge of Hope. As the young girl made new friends, grew academically and learned about Jesus, her heart filled with hope for a promising future.

But a few years later, Rashmi’s world collapsed from under her again. Rashmi’s father had left her some land, and her uncle Sanjiv wanted it for himself. He thought that if he arranged a marriage for Rashmi, he could easily take the land when she moved to live with her husband. Without Rashmi’s knowledge and despite her grandparents’ objections, Sanjiv found a man willing and arranged a wedding date. On May 29, 2012, Rashmi was forced to get married.

Rescued by Jesus

But after the wedding, Rashmi ran away. For two weeks, she found shelter with relatives in another village.

Meanwhile, the Bridge of Hope staff noticed that Rashmi had stopped coming to the centre. One of the social workers, Philip, visited Rashmi’s home to ask her grandparents why she hadn’t been coming. When they told him about the forced marriage, he was shocked.

Not long afterward, Rashmi returned to the village, and her uncle threatened to take her back to her husband’s home. But Philip stepped in. He and the Bridge of Hope project director brought Rashmi to stay at the director’s home. Then Philip met with Sanjiv.

He explained that if Sanjiv harassed Rashmi anymore, he would file a police case against him. Frightened, Sanjiv left Rashmi alone and let her continue her studies at the Bridge of Hope centre.

Now that the situation has settled down, Rashmi has returned to live with her grandparents, and she is continuing to flourish at the Bridge of Hope centre.

Not only has Rashmi improved in her studies, but she has also experienced Christ’s love through the care of staff members like Philip, who helped save her from a nightmare. Best of all, Rashmi decided to follow Jesus and is now part of the church family of a Gospel for Asia supported congregation.

More from Gospel for Asia:  GFA World Updates