Do you remember as a child the playful and fun moments of every day? Running to play outside with a friend, learning to ride a bike, when your biggest troubles were the math problems you had to solve as homework?
Ah! Good old days. The sweet innocence and carefree life of a school kid, the pages from our life story that we reminiscence every once in a while. How peaceful and enjoyable were those days right?
But for many children, especially girls in rural India their teenage days are nothing but a nightmare. According to sociologists, child marriage usually refers to social phenomena practiced in some societies, where a young child, usually a girl below the age of fifteen is married to an adult man. India has the highest number of child brides in the world. It is estimated that 27% of girls in India are married before their 18th birthday. Yes, you read that right.
This practice is looked at as normal in many societies which are ill-literate and financially unstable. According to statistics experts, in most of the rural communities in India, female infanticide rate is very high as well. This arises due to the fact that they see girls as a liability. Almost every time a girl is born, the news is treated as a bad news. Even if these little girls overcome the wrath of forceful death, the road ahead is not exactly trouble free.
They are treated as secondary citizens, marginalized and oppressed compared to their male counter parts. Patriarchy, class and caste influence the norms and the outlook on the role of women and girls in India. In many communities restrictive norms limit girls to the role of daughter, wife and mother who are first seen as the property of her father and then of her husband.They are not given proper education or social status. Most of the time, marriage becomes their only destination as it transfers the responsibility of taking care from father to husband. To add on to this some age old social customs, superstitions and poverty along with marriage expenses such as dowry lead a family to marry off their daughter at a young age to reduce costs. This heinous crime cannot be termed as marriage as it is simply selling of their child. The plight of these girls gets worse after the marriage with early pregnancy and even widowhood at young age of 20 as they are often married to men much older than their own father.
Teenage years for these young girls are nothing but the beginning of lifelong misery and trauma. Playing with friends and going to school is just a lifeless dream for them.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” -Matthew 19:14
How can we help these kids from the predicaments that await them? Preventive care and education.
Educating girls is one of the most powerful and preventive ways to prevent child marriage. Love One More through many initiatives, try to bring an end to this evil custom in southern India by helping girls from less privileged background achieve an education like their male counterparts. Each and every donation that comes from our donors goes towards securing their future. Because we believe girls are not commodities to be sold off in a trade. They have every right to walk in freedom from child marriage, abuse and teen pregnancy.
To help a young girl living in India secure freedom from child marriage, consider donating or sponsoring a child or giving to our Safe Spaces for Children campaign that educates to prevent child marriage.