One of our auditors and active participant in The Access Project in Varanasi shares her story-
My name is Nandini. In 2014, I was forced into an arranged marriage by my family. At the time, I did not even know the meaning of marriage. My family was poor family could no longer afford to bring me up. Marriage was seen as the only way out. At that time I was doing my graduation and I really wanted to continue my studies. My in laws were not very happy with this and refused me permission to study. I lobbied hard with both my in laws and my parents and extended finally. They grudgingly agreed and I got admitted in a masters programme for social work.
After my studies, I really wanted to work but my in laws were absolutely against this. They wanted me to stop studying and working and stay at home to serve them and my husband- do household chores, take care of them, have children. They were furious with my decision to study and put immense pressure on me to come stay with them. In 2017 I started working in The Access Project with The YP Foundation through my university. This gave me a new insight into work and life. I met a lot of new people and the workshops and trainings I was part of helped me greatly. I was inspired by the thoughts and work of many different people. I felt like I finally had an identity of my own. I decided that I wanted to work in this sector and with women so that others would not have to be in the same position I started talking to my parents and made them understand the concept of what consent meant. My marital family was still not supportive. I was still very unhappy with my marriage and there was constant verbal and mental violence. However, I was selected for a job with a well known organisation and became independent. I decided to leave my marriage as there was no sense of partnership in the relationship. I do not need to be married to be happy in life and I have come to realise that I am happy with myself and my family and doing what I like, taking my own decisions in life and being independent.
We would like to thank Nandini for sharing her experience with us and also express our gratitude to our supporters for continuing to pave paths and create enabling environments for changemakers and youth leaders such as Nandini - Thank You!
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