Ending Child Marriage in the Thar desert is an ongoing endeavor to strengthen girl, the dignity of the girl child and her status in the Desert. The project seeks to motivate a sustained behavior change towards girls in the community with special reference to stopping child marriage and continuing school education. Already operational in two of the largest districts of India, the project has already made long lasting impact.
Rajasthan has the second highest incidences of child marriages in the country. Child marriages are deeply associated with the traditional and cultural norms of the society, especially in the desert societies. Generational norms, overtime, have been intermixed with the limited socio-economic factors, formulating them deeper into the functioning of the societies. with all this a girl is seen as the weakest link in the chain adding little to economic or social.
With an understanding that the only long-lasting change is the one that comes from within, the project looks to work at changing attitude of the society towards the girl, to enable them (the girls and their community) to understand alternatives available to a girl, and to diminish gender discrimination. Developing a network of organizations in the region to support the interventions to reduce the vulnerability through social protection, access to education for girls and community mobilization.
Girls need to be able to achieve their aspirations. It is when girls can choose whether to marry as well as when and whom, that marriage-related decisions will reflect a true choice, a shift in decision-making power to girls and new social norms. Similarly The approach of implementing of project through Local level governing body, decision maker and community is itself a mode of sustainability of the project.