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:


Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

via CNN / Twitter

Eviction seemed imminent for Dasha Kelly, 32, and her three young daughters Sharron, 8; Kia, 6; and Imani, 5, on Monday. The eviction moratorium expired over the weekend and it looked like there was no way for them to avoid becoming homeless.

The former Las Vegas card dealer lost her job due to casino closures during the pandemic and needed $2,000 to cover her back rent. The mother of three couldn't bear the thought of being put out of her apartment with three children in the scorching Nevada desert.

"I had no idea what we were going to do," Kelly said, according to KOAT.

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