Nepal’s Child Widows 11:00, 2009 (Ref: AS09761)


This film highlights the tragic plight of Nepal’s child widows, some as young as thirteen. Nepal has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world.

Young widows who loose their husband are considered bad luck and are harassed by their families and ostracised by society.

We meet 18-year-old Shia, a young bride who is struggling to cope. Just 9 days ago, Shia’s husband died, leaving her with their two children. Shia’s parents-in-law have begun enforcing a long list of customs that she must follow if she is to be trusted to stay in the family home. Customs, such as not wearing colour, are designed to ensure widows will not be unfaithful to their dead husband. A widow who breaks these taboos is considered shameful, and the customs are often maintained through force.

The treatment of widows is at times so extreme, some women have felt compelled to speak out. Anita Devkota was a young widow herself – she was married at 15 and widowed at 22. After her husband died she felt alone and powerless. Eventually she tried to kill herself. But shortly afterwards she turned her life around and joined the WHR, an organisation fighting for the rights of widows.