Child Marriage Free India

About your Organization

Gram Sathi is dedicated to the development of the deprived people (backward and poor rural women, people with disabilities, child labour, victims of trafficking and violence) of Jharkhand. The organization is working on the following issue of Child Marriage, Child Trafficking, Child Labour and Child Sexual Abuse. The organization participated and organized Child Marriage Free India Campaign in dumka districts of Jharkhand covering over 750 villages under the project.

The Campaign Activities included:
  • Akshaya Tritiya Campaign Basuki Nath mandir campaign was organized during 22-04-2023dates and conducted events in Basuki Nath Jarmundi places. The campaign reached out to Hindu religious leaders to pledge to prevent and end child marriage in their villages, districts.
  • June Action Month - Gram Sathi the organization conducted the action month with the objective of Process of Raid and Rescue and Important legal provisions and prevented injunction orders and ,05 FIRs got registered. The campaign was conducted in collaboration with district Social Welfare departments and covered by Television and local media with an outreach of directly and, News Paper and television through online.
  • 16 October 2023 - Child Marriage Free India Campaign Event –The campaign event was conducted in 05 blocks in Dumka district locations 1)Jarmundi, 2)Masaliya, 3)Kathikund, 4)Ramgarh,5)Gopikander covering-904 villages in collaboration Central Social Welfare department and Department of Panchayati raj departments with notifications issued by departments. The campaign was organized in Dumka districts, 904 villages, with an outreach of Child Marriage Free India Campaign.
Campaign Photos:
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Campaign Media Coverage:
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Child marriage is not just an age-old social evil, but also a heinous crime that robs children of their childhood. Child marriage is a “crime against children” that violates basic human rights, minor girls are forced to marry and live a life of mental trauma, physical and biological stress, domestic violence including limited access to education and increased vulnerability to domestic violence. The consequences of child marriage are severe and extensive. Some of the specific consequences include: early pregnancies leading to complications and higher rate of maternal mortality and death of infants, malnutrition among both the infant and the mother, increased vulnerability to reproductive health, disruption in girl’s education and thereby reduction in opportunities of her personal and professional development, domestic violence and abuse, limited decision making powers in the household, and mental health issues.

India’s Census 2011 revealed 12 million children were married before attaining the legal age, of which 5.2 million were girls. Globally, child marriage is identified as a crime and a menace that needs to be eliminated. It finds space in the UN Sustainable Development Goals, under target 5.3 of Goal 5 that states elimination of all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation by 2025.

The latest National Family Health Survey (2019-21) shows that although there is a drop in the overall rate of child marriages, from 26.8% in the National Family Health Survey (NFHS 4) to 23.3% in NFHS-5, it is still high despite laws, programmes and schemes in place to address the issue.

Child Marriage Free India Campaign

Understanding the seriousness of the issue, the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India in W.P. Civil 382 of 2013pronounced that the sexual intercourse committed by the husband upon his wife being under the age of 18 years with or without her consent can be constituted as rape. To address this, the most definitive and audacious commitment to end child marriage was made with the launch of Child Marriage Free India campaign.

Child Marriage Free India (CMFI) is a nationwide campaign led by women leaders and a coalition of more than 160 NGOs spanning more than 300 districts working to eliminate child marriage in India. CMFI is working to attain the tipping point of child marriage, after which the society does not accept this evil practice and that will happen when the prevalence of child marriage is brought down to 5.5% by 2030, from the current national prevalence rate of 23.3%. This is being done by initially targeting 257 high-prevalence districts and gradually focusing on all the districts of the country.

Child marriage results in child rape, resulting in child pregnancy, and in a large number of cases, may lead to child deaths. For decades, we have been losing generations of our children to child marriage. The Child Marriage Free India campaign has received extended support from various Departments and Institutions of over 28 States. So far, across India more than 5 crore people have taken the pledge to end child marriage over the last one year through the efforts of the Child Marriage Free India Campaign.

Know more about the Child Marriage Free India (CMFI) Campaign:

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The Way Forward: PICKET Strategy to End Child Marriage

Addressing the issue of child marriage, requires a comprehensive and coordinated approach of different government departments, institutions, statutory bodies, and civil society organisations.

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Tipping Point to end child marriage

WHEN CHILDREN HAVE CHILDREN - TIPPING POINT TO END CHILD MARRIAGEBook authored by Mr Bhuwan Ribhu is an action plan to eliminate child marriage in India by 2030.It looks at the existing data on child marriage and lists 257 districts in India where the issue of child marriage is worst, which means where the occurrence of this evil practice is highest as compared to national numbers.

Tipping Point is the threshold required in an ecosystem needed to tilt the scale of the problem towards a point of no-return. The Tipping Point of Child Marriage is the critical point after which the society does not accept child marriage

Tipping Point Methodology

The aim of reduction of 60 percent of child marriage is assumed to bring down the incidence of child marriage to 5.5 percent in the next nine years from 2021, from the last available estimates i.e., NFHS-5, till 2030. An additional assumption is that such a focused and elaborate intervention against child marriage would have a ripple effect.

In order to reach the Tipping Point, the Author proposes strategy at national and district level.
  • National Level strategy where Governments, Institutions, statutory bodies, etc. work towards prevention, protection, increased investment, improved prosecution, convergence and use of technology for monitoring
  • District Level strategy is similar to national level strategy but includes district administration, Panchayats, civil society, NGOs, other functionaries, parents and children who work collectively to prevent, report, and take action against child marriage

Case Study– Preventing Child Marriage

Entangled in the clutches of child marriage with the promise of love rescued

Mina, a 14-year-old girl from a remote village, hailing from a modest family, found herself entangled in a harrowing situation. What began as a blossoming romance with a local boy took a dark turn when he resorted to blackmail, coercing Mina into marriage and this marriage was nonconsensual. This case study sheds light on how Gram Sathiteam’s intervention helped Mina and her family escape the clutches of child marriage.

In the quaint village where Mina lived name Jarmundi village, societal norms often perpetuated early marriages. Mina's family, like many others, adhered to traditional values but prioritized their daughter's education. However, the arrival of a charming boy changed the course of Mina's life. The boy exploited her trust, resorting to manipulation and blackmail to force her into marriage.

During an awareness campaign on child marriage organised by the Access to Justice team on 03.08.23, Mina’s case came to light. Sensing the urgency and severity of the situation, the team decided to investigate further. Mina's family was initially hesitant to disclose the details, but with gentle persuasion, they shared the distressing story.

Realizing the need for immediate action, the team extended support to Mina's family. They helped them understand their rights and the legal consequences of child marriage. Encouraging the family to stand against the injustice, the team assisted them in filing a First Information Report (FIR) against the boy on 09.08.23, on the same day police registered the case and rescued the Child.

With the FIR filed, the legal machinery began its course. The team provided guidance to Mina's family throughout the legal proceedings. On 18.09.23 Mina went for the medical test and gave the statement to the CWC on the same day with the police. The team ensured that they had access to necessary resources. The case gained attention, prompting community discussions on the perils of child marriage. The team also filed for victim compensation at the DLSA Court and the compensation is currently under process.

The legal battle was not easy, but with the unwavering support of ACRD’s Access to Justice team of Baksa, Mina's family emerged victorious. The boy faced legal consequences, and Mina was spared from a life-altering mistake. The incident prompted a shift in the community's mindset, with increased awareness about the harmful impacts of child marriage.

Mina's case serves as a poignant example of how our team interventions can empower vulnerable individuals and families to break free from the shackles of harmful practices. By combining legal support with community awareness, the NGO played a crucial role in preventing a child marriage and fostering positive change in the village. Now Mina has been re enrolled in school (Pragati HS School ) and is continuing with her studies.

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