In October, the Global Network on Mental Health and Child Marriage hosted a 2-day event in celebration of World Mental Health Day and International Day of the Girl. The event highlighted the relationship between mental health and child marriage, by focusing on storytelling through the arts.
Day 1 focused on survivor stories. A touching short film called ‘Stolen Dream, Broken Lives’ was screened to shed light on the realities of child marriage in Nepal. This was followed by an engaging discussion with a young advocate from Rozaria Memorial Trust (RMT), named Elmer, who courageously described her experience as a child marriage survivor, and the impact this had on her mental health.
After a short break, and a light-hearted origami-making activity, RMT hosted a Nhanga, which is traditionally known as a women-only safe space. Young advocates and participants from the audience joined in to discuss their own struggles and experiences with child marriage.
Day 2 then highlighted research stories. Dr Ahmed Ali from WHO presented his research on adolescent mental health issues, opportunities and responses. This was followed by a presentation by Farah Sheibani from UCL, on a current Delphi research project focusing on priorities and potential solutions to addressing the mental health consequences of child marriage.
After an interesting Q&A and a quick break, a fun music activity was hosted by young advocates at Girls Voices Initiative, and a brief art lesson was guided by the talented Henna Bakhshi AKA Brown Girl Art. Last but not least, Dr Fiona Samuels from ODI presented her evidence-based work which focused on contextualising the drivers of child marriage.
To watch the recordings of the 2-day event, please see the videos below: