The Child Brides: Send Them to School instead

by Educate Girls

46% of girls in India are child brides. Girls drop out of school and are forced into early marriage. This leaves them unprepared for life and parenthood and exposes them to exploitation, violence and high risk of death during childbirth.

Today is International Day of the Girl and it is the best time to create awareness about child marriage which is a social evil affecting the lives of nearly 50% girls in India. 

Creating awareness is the first step to fighting child marriage!

Like us on Facebook  today and share our posters. We will be posting new content each week. Help us share it with your network.

Join us on Twitter  and let’s raise our voice for child brides! You can retweet our tweets, write your own or for sample tweets email us on childbrides@educategirls.in

Want to do more? Email us for a full toolkit on how to create impact.

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A child bride when she was only three months old, Meena is a girl from Pali district in Rajasthan. She is one of 6 children. Meena’s family earns just enough to be able to eat. Her father rears goats, sells the milk and manure while her two older sisters earn money from manual labor. However, with Meena’s mother falling very ill, the family was fast running out of money. Her ailing mother is the reason Meena wants to work and supplement her family’s income.

Meena does manual labor too. Now, due to the efforts of Educate Girls her parents have started sending her to school. They want her to have the chance they never had in life.

Meena is currently studying in class seven. This twelve year old is troubled with thoughts about her family’s survival, about her mother, about her education. Her life is full of uncertainty. Yet, when we ask Meena if she wants to study she replies with a strong “Yes”. We ask her about her marriage her eyes fill with tears.

Support Meena and other child brides - Send them to School!

 

*Name changed to protect the identity of the child

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Nageena Banu with her child
Nageena Banu with her child

Nageena Bano was still a child when her parents married her off. She belongs in Chanod village in Pali District Rajasthan.  Her in laws abused her and treated her very badly. After she had a baby they threw her out of the house. She was completely alone and helpless. Remembering that she says, “I had nothing and the only thing I had to call my own was the little education I had received as a child. It was this education that helped me get a small job in the village and I was able to stand on my own two feet and be able to look after my little child.

I now have only one aim in life – what happened with me should not happen with my other sisters in the village.”

Today Nageena Bano is a champion for girls’ education and a catalyst for school reform. She is Team Balika.

What helped Nageena transform from an abused child bride to who she is today is education. It is what helps her reach true potential as an individual. It is this education that no one can beat, steal away from her. No flood, no famine, nothing can take it away. It is hers to use all her life and to empower her and give her a voice and independence.

She was able to transform her life but we know that she not the norm but an exception. Only 1 out of every 100 girls in India makes it to class 12! Which means, that all of us here are exceptions in this country. We are the 1%!

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On behalf of the entire team of Educate Girls I would like to thank you for encouraging us in our journey to empower girls through education. So much has happened in the last few months that we wanted to briefly update you on the progress.

You will be pleased to know that in February I was invited by TEDxASB to speak to an audience of international educators about rejuvenating government schools. Here is a link to the talk, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xz7UP-Sgoko.

The Indian Philanthropy Forum’s (IPF) Annual Conference in March 2012 organized by Dasra gave me an opportunity to speak about the issues that adolescent girls in India face at a panel discussion titled “Owning Her Future: Empowering Adolescent Girls in India”. The IPF also saw the release of the Indian Philanthropy Report, 2012 published by Bain and Company. We are happy to report that Educate Girls is featured in the report! Please click - http://www.bain.com/publications/articles/india-philanthropy-report-2012.aspx.

Our programs are going strong with over 20,000 girls enrolled in schools since last year and almost 1186 teachers in Pali and Jalore trained in Creative Learning Techniques. In addition Educate Girls has launched a new initiative in December last year. As part of this, Educate Girls is building a cadre of village based education volunteers known as Team Balika. Over 500 Team Balika members have been recruited and trained across Pali and Jalore. These educated youth are champions for girl education and support Educate Girls’ programs to ensure enrollment and retention of every girl along with provision of quality education. We are delighted to share the Team Balika logo with you.

Our efforts and your support have been appreciated and recognized, we were nominated for the WomenChangeMakers Award and have also been shortlisted for the second stage of the Stars Impact Awards. The results will be declared soon!

We thank you for your continuous support and encouragement for every milestone achieved.

Sukhi - Shy yet Confident!
Sukhi - Shy yet Confident!

Sukhi, an 18 year old village based volunteer popularly known as Team Balika identified two girls in the village of Mohra who had never attended school. But the school headmaster refused admission to them on the grounds that the school was already in session and thegirls could come back in the next academic year.   

Sukhi  immediately contacted the EducateGirls' regional office in Pali and spoke to staff member Miss Harshwardhane. Acting on her advice, Sukhi marched up to the headmaster's office the next day and demanded a written statement. Shocked by her confidence and taken aback by her complete lack of fear, he admitted the girls in the school. Sukhi is an inspiration to us all!

Sukhi
Sukhi's father believes in her and supports her!

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Organization Information

Educate Girls

Location: Mumbai, Maharashtra - India
Website: http:/​/​www.educategirls.ngo
Project Leader:
Arundhati Bose
Mumbai, MH India