Child development charity Compassion has partnered with local churches to raise awareness about the under-reported phenomenon of bride kidnapping, known as ‘marriage by abduction’.
The practice is a cultural tradition in certain countries, where young girls are captured for the purpose of marriage, and often raped and potentially made pregnant in order to legitimatise the union within the community.
Charities like Compassion, through its work with vulnerable children, are now connecting with the local church, for example in Thailand, to change attitudes and eradicate the problem.
One of Compassion’s church partners, Kao Kor Grace, has more than 500 children registered in its programme.
Mrs Wasana, project director, said, ‘We may not be able to change the whole culture immediately, but we can start with the mindset of our children. They’re learning about their rights in society, what the Bible says about their identity and their freedom to choose their life partners’.
Compassion is also working hard to change the attitudes of parents and the wider community, sharing with village leaders Compassion’s perspective on bride kidnapping and building a network of supporters.