Asma Jannat and Munni Aktar, two classmates from Cox’s Bazaar, had to drop out of school when they were in class 8. Their families could no longer afford to keep them in school. What they faced later is a story that is all too common in South Asia - the pressure to get married.
In Bangladesh, there has been significant improvement in primary and secondary education. But the fact remains that as many as four million children remain out of school each year, mainly due to challenges of accessibility and affordability or being compelled to choose between earning and education.
Even after her father hacked at her mother’s foot with a kitchen knife in an alcohol fuelled rage, Merina, 16, did not want to abandon her father. “He wasn’t always like this,” she says. “His addiction turned him into a crazy person.”