As of 2018, child marriage still exists but we can fight it!
She’s a little girl seated at the entrance of her home
You’re wondering why she is not at school, her face so glum
When suddenly you notice there’s a little baby by her side,
It dawns on you, she isn’t just a little girl, she is a little child bride.
No, these lines are not an excerpt from a fiction novel. These lines are a reflection of the harsh truth, all too rampant in India – Child marriage!
It is not uncommon that people believe child marriage is a thing of the past. Many believe that it just doesn’t and couldn’t happen in this day and age. But you would be shocked!
India has been battling long and hard to put an end to this social evil of child marriage. However, 2018 statistics revealed that in a number of Indian states, girls are married off as young as 15.4 years to 16.7 years. Differences between urban and rural areas to exist with girls in urban areas being married off at an age even younger than girls in rural areas. Statistics have also revealed that 7 per cent of India’s girls are married before 15 years of age. Although reports speak of a decline in child marriage, an alarming 1.5 million girls in India are child brides.
Child marriage is not a standalone evil! It has its impact spilling over into the high prevalence of maternal mortality rates due to its teenage pregnancies, and the high maternal mortality rate is yet another battle that India has been up against.
So, what does this piece of knowledge mean to you and me? Of what relevance is it? What can we do about these numbers? Yes, perhaps we do not have it in our capacity to influence the systems in India to cause a change in these numbers on paper. But we most definitely have the ability to influence one family, one child, one little girl at a time! All we need to do is to make the choice to love one more enough to not let her become a child bride. All we need to do is to love one more family and help them understand that their daughter is not a burden whom they should try to get rid off at the earliest and so give her in marriage when she is still a child. Let’s do our part, one child at a time; and before we know it, we would have done enough for the numbers on the papers to show a difference for the better.
Our Safe Spaces for Children campaign aims to educate girls about child marriage, how to identify right from wrong, and to also educate her parents and community on the dangers of child marriage. Join us in giving them the tools to change their lives for the better.