Girls take a stand against child marriage

Muhammad Suleman Niaz Butt
Posted April 17, 2015 from Pakistan

Child marriage is common in many developing countries as poverty is a major contributing factor. Girls from low-income families who lack access to education are more than twice as likely to be forced into early marriages.

According to the International Center for Research on Women, if present child marriage trends continue, more than 142 million girls worldwide will be forced to marry adult men during the next decade – the equivalent of 38,000 girls every day.

Recently, we brought you the story of 15-year-old Ramatoulaye from The Gambia who stood up against the prospect of her own early marriage and is now educating other girls her age. She says: “My advice for other girls is that education is the key to success in life, and they should focus on their education.”

Today, on International Day of the Girl Child, we would like to introduce you to 15-year-old Durgesh (pictured above)from India. Durgesh lives in Uttar Pradesh’s Firozabad district and is sponsored through ChildFund.

In India, ChildFund supports more than 700 youth clubs for boys and girls around the country. Female youth clubs, also known as Kishori Samuha, have proven to be especially successful in creating an informed and confident new generation of young Indian women.

Durgesh is one of these young women. She is the leader of her local female youth club and was the driving force behind a campaign against child marriage, which has been a long-standing tradition in her community.

“Initially, it was very difficult for us to convince parents to say no to child marriage, which has been going on in our community since ages,” says Durgesh, who is in year 10 at school. “But with the support and guidance from ChildFund India program staff, we continued our campaign for months.”

Her campaign has brought the number of child marriages to almost zero in her community and just like Ramatoulaye, Durgesh is now an inspiration to other young women in her area.

“We finally succeeded,” she says. “Parents are now not in favour of getting their young daughters married. Rather, they are sending them to school.”

The Path to Participation Initiative from World Pulse and No Ceilings

Comments 7

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Alyssa Rust
Apr 20, 2015
Apr 20, 2015

Dear Muhammad Suleman Butt,

I really enjoyed reading your story. It sounds like the programs and staff at the ChildFund are doing great things and really helping girls in India through a large number of different clubs. Child marriage as you mention is something that continues to be questions and I think as more programs are developed and more individuals like Ramtoulaye stand up for their personal education and start to educate others we can see real change. This was really shown in your post. Thank you for sharing.

Sincerely,  Alyssa Rust  

Sahar
Apr 21, 2015
Apr 21, 2015

Hello Muhammad,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this important issue. I am glad to hear such organiations in India are doing a great job!

This post would be great to submit to the Path to Participation initiative World Pulse just launched in partnership with No Ceilings of the Clinton Foundation!

Over the course of a month, until May 14th, World Pulse and No Ceilings are crowdsourcing stories in response to No Ceilings' recently released report on the status of women around the world. Community members will be sharing their stories and solutions on the topics of gender-based violence, girls' education, and health. 

Learn more about this initiative and submit your story here: http://bit.ly/1OCeluI

We hope you will!

Thanks again,

Sahar

Edith Kalanzi
Apr 27, 2015
Apr 27, 2015

Dear Muhammad,

What a beautiful end of a great story. The two - Ramatoulaye and Durgesh - need a big hug from the whole community at WP, whose objectives we totally embrace. There's nothing like Education to give youngsters a true vision on how to resolve life's complexities.

Hope you have heeded the call to submit your story to the Call for Action initiative.

All the best,

Edith

William
Apr 27, 2015
Apr 27, 2015

Dear Muhammad Suleman Butt,

Thank you for sharing your story with us. I'm aware that selling of young daughters as brides has been a common practise for low-income families in India. I know that laws have been passed with minimum age requirements. Are those laws being enforced?

Are there any means of creating "boys" and "girls" youth clubs as you describe, where the funding comes from the people in India? This proven practise seems to be working, so why not make it available to youth all across India? Is paticipation in these existing youth clubs open to all youth, regardless of caste?

Seems like there are at least four issues here: parents education; gender protection; education for girls; discrimination due to caste.

What are your thoughts about dealing with these issues?

Your article is well written, shows some progress being made and hopeful.

William

Muhammad Suleman Niaz Butt
Apr 30, 2015
Apr 30, 2015

Yes, So many laws has been passed top stop this but there is no check and balance on the implementation of these laws. People are still doing the same they were doing before. yes low-Income is one of the many reasons. In my point of view lack of awareness and proper facilities to these people are the major reasons for this practice.

In some areas they are creating some youth clubs but we should take a simple fact to our notice that some people, Some illitrate people don't understand the simple facts of these clubs and activities so they create mess do foolish things to stop it. Fundings are coming through different means like US Government is helping in this regard and also some NGO's are involved in this good cause.

I think that we should create an enviroment where everyone understand that caste system is not good for their growth further we should earn their trust that if they somehow go with us they are safe. Arrange some earning opporunities with the collaboration of the Indian and Pakistan's government.

Regards,

Suleman

Julie Thompson
Apr 30, 2015
Apr 30, 2015

Dear Muhammad,

I am so pleased to hear how well ChildFund in India is doing thanks to the hard work of Durgesh and Ramatoulaye.  They remind me of another young woman, Beatrice Achieng Nas, who started a similar program a few years ago in Tororo, Uganda, which I am a part of: Rural Girl Child Mentorship Uganda.<RGCM>.

It is so important for young women to receive an education, and it is often difficult to change those rigid historical cultural practices.  Durgesh and Ramatoulaye truly are an inspiration, and I hope that they and the other young women in the youth clubs continue to make these important strides in their communities.

Thank you so much for sharing this important news.

My best to you,

Lylinaguas
May 01, 2015
May 01, 2015

What a great and well-written article! You've certainly researched a lot on your subject matter. What I find significant here is the involvement of organizations like ChildFund and Kishori Samuha. I've always believed that we cannot just rely on governments to resolve all of our country's problems. The private sectors have to get involved. Your article shows the significant role NGOs play in society. Even more important is that young people like Ramatoulaye and Durgesh can courageously speak out about their own experiences to campaign against child marriage and emphasize the importance of education. They have become symbols of the new youth generation, the voice for thousands of young girls like them who value education. 

Thank you for sharing this article with us. You have certainly made an impact to your readers.