The children are well versed in handling such scenarios; they don't argue, but methodically list the evils of child marriage. "We can't force them to listen to us," said Antara Tabassum, 16, one of the leaders
When the matchmaker turned up at her house, 13-year-old Rehana Begum knew something was wrong. Shortly afterwards, an unknown woman smiled at her from the doorway; her worst fears were confirmed. Her parents were planning to marry her off.
Rehana, a class six student at a secondary school in Nilphamari district in northern Bangladesh, was well aware of the likely consequences of early marriage – an end to school, isolation from her friends and a life of hard work at her in-laws. But she also knew outright rebellion was out of the question. In the poverty-stricken, deeply conservative northern districts of Bangladesh, children defer to elders.
Fortunately for Rehana, she knew exactly who to call: the district's vaunted "wedding busters", a movement consisting of 11 groups of around 20 youngsters, campaigning against child marriage.