Fourteen-year-old Shila loved learning. She enjoyed attending school, and when World Vision started a karate training program for girls in her community in Bangladesh, she was eager to enroll.
“My eyes were bursting with wonder,” Shila says. “I didn’t haste a single time to take consent from my parents and got myself in the training programme.”
The program lasted six months and was designed to help girls develop the confidence to protect themselves against violence, which runs rampant against women and girls in their area. As she learned, she grew full of energy and courage. But life was difficult in other ways. Shila’s family was poor, and her parents struggled to provide. When they lost their business, her father was drowning in debt—and desperate.
“Poverty was there, but I was still content in my family until the day my marriage proposal came,” Shila says.