Have you ever wondered how your life would be if you had been married as a child?
What would you do if you had in-laws to look after and household chores to handle?
What would happen to school, games, and friends when the only thing that is important for you is serving the dinner on time?
In Rajasthan, India, these questions unfortunately form a part of daily lives of many young girls. Even today, 68% of them are forced into early marriage!
This disturbing tradition remains very prevalent even today and it burdens the whole society. In fact, it directly impacts the community’s economic growth and its social well-being. Underage marriage not only penalizes young girls but also their family and the entire community. As the UNFPA’s State of World Population Report sums up “If adolescent girls in India had been able to wait until their early 20s, the countries would have greater economic productivity equal to over $7.7 billion.”
Educate Girls challenges this status quo. We encourage communities to abandon this archaic custom of child marriage and send daughters to school instead. Since we started our program, six years ago, more than 52,000 girls have been re-enrolled into schools.
One such girl is Sharda.
She is 12 and had been out of school for two years. Her parents were thinking of marrying her, but thanks to our volunteer’s persistent follow up and counseling, she escaped this fate and got re-enrolled. After talking repeatedly with our team, her parents agreed to send Sharda back to school and wait for a few years to get her married.
Had it not been for Educate Girls’ intervention, Sharda would have been expected to leave her family as soon as she reached puberty. She would have had to move into her in-laws’ house where she would have been responsible for cleaning, cooking and taking the cattle to the grazing fields. With no education, she would have had no further prospect in life. She would have been confined to her home and dependent on her husband for everything in life.
Thankfully Sharda will not have to experience this.
She will study before getting engaged. Eventually, she will use her education and life skills learned in school to improve her employability and earning prospects. More importantly, she will be able to provide her own kids with education and a better health care. Thanks to education Sharda will reach her full potential and make a life for herself.
If you want to help girls like Sharda, support our program by telling your friends and relatives about our work. We also encourage you to donate online via Global Giving:
Thank you for your generosity!
*Name changed to protect the identity of the child
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