Jalina Khatun, 16, from Dewangunj Rural Municipality ward no. 4 Sunsari district is already a mother of one-year old child. Jalina, who experienced hardships in her childhood had to get married with 44 years old Mohommad Atabul as his second wife when she was just 14 years old due to some compelling circumstances.
As she felt it quite hard to manage food for herself and her child, she has been living with her maternal grandmother. Her husband is working as a laborer. A daily wage labor is bread and butter of Khatun family. But sometimes uncertainty of livelihood looms when work opportunities are not locally available.
“We are already so poor, it’s difficult for us to manage foods for us, I am much worried about my child’s health,” Jalina shared with ADRA Nepal Visiting Service Provider (VSP) Hemkala Dhakal while she was being counselled, “I even did not have an idea about family planning earlier.”
VSP Dhakal wondered when she saw Jalina for the first time in a local health post where Jalina had visited with her malnourished child. In the health post, she was provided with information about the supplementary food (Lito) distributed by health facility. At the same time, VSP Dhakal offered counselling to her about family planning.
“If I was known about family planning, I wouldn’t have delivered a baby so early,” she expressed during conversation, “Now I will maintain a gap.”
Specially in some Muslim societies, adopting family planning methods is still considered a taboo. By fluke, her husband had recently participated in community level Muslim male group orientation at Kaptangunj. Counselling from VSP became a turning point for Khatun couple to take decision about using family planning methods.
When VSD Dhakal met with Jalina after 4 months, she found her happy with her child whose health was on improving trend. She also expressed thanks to Dhakal for counselling on family planning. “Taking implant service has made me confident about avoidance of unwanted pregnancy,” she shared.
According to Jalina, many of the girls of her age are either ignorant about family planning methods or are hesitant to use them. “I have been telling my friends to use family planning methods, after I learnt about benefits,” she said.