In many villages, most girls who leave their school after Class VIII, are also forced to leave their childhood behind. As an unsaid norm that most families follow, looking for a groom for a girl child begins as soon as she crosses 13 years of age. With the help of partners and our well-wishers, we have managed to stop the practice of child marriage in many villages and slums. Help us save many more girls.
As per the 2011 census, there are close to 15 million girls who are married before the legal age, i.e. 18 yrs every year. Breaking this law is punishable but that doesn't stop child marriage from being rampant across the country even in this day and age. While it affects both boys and girls, in most cases, it is the girl children that are affected the most. Child marriage denies children their basic rights to good health, nutrition, education, and freedom from violence, abuse & exploitation.
Along with the noise of forced wedding celebrations in Banispur, one can also hear a hopeful voice that says, "Main doctor banna chahti hu" (I want to become a doctor). This is 14-yr-old Julie's voice. She once overheard her father talking about getting her married. Devastated, she reached out to CRY's on ground partner for help. This decision that Julie took is changing a lot of girls' lives in her village even today. Like her, 2 girls in her village have decided to continue their studies.
Through our programmes, we try to sensitise communities in villages towards the ill effects of child marriage on a regular basis. Additionally, we constantly work with the panchayat, influential government officials and most importantly, parents to encourage girl children to go to school. With our efforts, we try to rewire mindsets to create a sustainable long term change.