October 04, 2021
During lockdown, Roshni, a grade 9 student from Chhattisgarh, spent a lot of time at home with her family. One day, her mother informed her about the upcoming marriage of a girl in their village. She learned that the prospective bride was a minor and the sister of one of her classmates. She started wondering how anyone could accept the marriage of a mere 15-year-old girl. Has anyone asked the girl how she feels about the marriage? Did the bride’s parents know that this was a legal offense?
Wondering how she could stop this marriage, Roshni spoke to the bride’s sister, her friend from school. The sister confided that she felt helpless as she was not able to do anything to stop the marriage. Roshni decided to take action.
Roshni asked her father to accompany her to meet the Sarpanch, their village’s elected representative. She tried to convince the Sarpanch to intervene and stop the child marriage. But the Sarpanch said, “Child marriage is common in migrant communities living in the village. The joblessness and poverty inflicted by the pandemic are forcing many parents to give away their minor daughters in marriage. The families are exploiting lockdown restrictions to conduct low-cost ceremonies secretly”.
Roshni decided to call her Social Mobilizer, a mentor from Room to Read’s Girls’ Education Program. The Social Mobilizer encouraged her to call Childline (a toll-free child helpline number) and the police, with a request to keep her identity confidential.
The police swung into action and informed the Child Welfare Committee. The Police, Childline, and CWC members went to the house of the girl and told the parents to stop the marriage or else face legal consequences. Fearing legal repercussions, the girl’s parents decided to call off the marriage of their minor daughter. The groom’s family was not happy with the police interference but decided to keep quiet. The police appreciated Roshni’s efforts and kept her identity secret. She was thrilled she was able to apply her life skills education to stop a child marriage.
Learn more about Roshni in the video below.