In Nepal, young boys are turning into husbands. One former child groom speaks out.
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Gates Foundation

Pannilal Yadav doesn't really remember his wedding.

"I don't remember very much about my wedding," he wrote in a blog post published by CARE. "Just that there was a big party and I was carried to it in an ornate carriage."



Pannilal Yadav has grown a lot since he was married. Image via CARE.

I don't blame him. He was only 8 at the time.

Can you imagine? His bride, Rajkumari, was only 7 — barely half a teenager. They were forced to marry by their parents, and it was the moment that changed their young lives forever. Even if they were too shy to talk to each other for years after their wedding.

You don't often hear about child grooms, but Pannilal's story is not uncommon.

It's true that child brides are more common worldwide, but UNICEF estimates that 156 million boys worldwide are married before age 18. That's not an insignificant number.

In Nepal, where Pannilal lives, child grooms are especially common in poor, rural areas. According to a fascinating new report from CARE titled "Dads Too Soon: The Child Grooms of Nepal," some of the reasons boys are married off so young by their parents include community pressure, having a new income-earner in the family, control of sexuality, and a fear that all the good wives will be gone. Eek.



Interesting/sad. Image via CARE.

Pannilal thought getting married as a kid was normal until one day in 9th grade he saw the words "I love you" on a rock.

In his blog post, Pannilal tells a story about being on a school trip in 9th grade, when he saw the words "I love you" painted on a big rock. He had to ask his teacher what “I love you" meant because he didn't know. His teacher replied that the rock was where young people who liked each other secretly met up to say things like that. “You cannot understand, Pannilal," his teacher said. “They are not married young like you."

He had to ask his teacher what “I love you" meant because he didn't know.

After that, it started to click that being married as a kid was kind of messed up and that it was holding him and his wife back in life. She was forced to drop out of school immediately after their wedding (at 7 years old!). He stayed in school until 10th grade, when she had their first child. He watched a lot of his friends finish school and go on to have impressive careers — and he felt stuck.

Today, Pannilal is a community organizer, educating people about the harms of child marriage.

It's through CARE's project called Tipping Point, and his wife — the one he married when he was 8 — is happy he's doing it. She once said to him, “It would have been nice if I was married to you when I was big enough to understand what it really means to be together." #truth


Pannilal meets with others in his community to talk about child marriage. Image via CARE.

Everyone should be able to have control over their futures.

I think it's safe to say Pannilal and his wife Rajkumari would agree. Pannilal has quite a story about how his experience helped shape the work he does today. It's definitely worth a watch:


When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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