Things have come a long way for girls and women in India. Their troubles have seemingly diminished and they are progressing. But is that really true? We have KFC and McDonalds now. Surely, that means we are developed. I mean, we have Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts, and all those glorious malls in the metros. And we have come full circle with women taking up leadership roles. The rural areas are probably embracing change as well, right? If only. They remain forgotten and their plight continues to seek solace. It is a completely different story for this part of the society.
Child marriages have been found to increase a child’s chance of anaemia, HIV/ AIDS, sexually Transmitted Diseases – STD, cervical cancer, underweight births, uterus complications, excessive bleedings, and immature birth. Furthermore, if an underage child becomes pregnant, her chance of death rises as well. Additionally, many child marriages lead to frequent physical & sexual abuses, excessive workload, poor nutritive intakes, domestic violence, poor family support, drop out from schools, separation from family, suicidal tendency and death. The impact that child marriages have on a child’s future is extremely negative and sometimes even fatal.
Why the sudden trivia you ask? You say this is all in the past?
What we found out – the real deal
A survey by our team, in a school that was located in a relatively urban environment, brought to the surface, some disturbing results. 26 child marriage cases surfaced after administering the study. Unverified reports claim that one school in Namakkal has 47 child marriages. Currently, there are 137 Government schools in the Namakkal district, which frankly, is worrisome, as government schools have higher rates of child marriage because of the socio, cultural, and economic status of the children’s families.
Child marriages continue to be a consistent obstacle in our efforts for all round child protection. Our project – ChildLine 1098, is in place for situations like these and the team responds to these situations as quickly as possible.
Coming back to the cases cited, it was discovered that the girls that were wed, were no older than 17 years. LEAF Society has managed to intervene and put a stop to 11 of these cases. To our dismay, it was found that two of these students were already pregnant.
In most child marriage cases, a girl between the ages of 12-16 years is forcibly married to a man whose age lies between 30-35 years. An overwhelming 99% of the girls are against this and look for a way out. Unfortunately, their options are limited as family members themselves are responsible for these marriages.
Putting a stop to this
LEAF Society aims to complete further data collection, and then use these results to plan further interventions in the Namakkal district. In order to administer these surveys and carry out sensitization campaigns as soon as possible, LEAF Society continuously looks for support. Our efforts do not stop with intervention, we also take care of their rehabilitation. It’s a tough journey when you are working out of some of the most isolated places in the country, but we have a strong team that thinks of the cause first.
LEAF Society requires the support of the public in any way possible. If you would like to be a part of our efforts and want to know how, please use the contact form to send us a message.