Justice For Every Child - A Pan India Campaign Against Child Marriage
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Kailash Satyarthi's Appeal: Join The Launch Of Child Marriage Free India Campaign And Create History

Kailash Satyarthi's Appeal: Join The Launch Of Child Marriage Free India Campaign And Create History

23 out 100 girls are married off before the age of 18. Some of these girls are as young as 8-year-old. Child marriage denies girls their rights, choices, and participation and undermines numerous development priorities hindering progress towards a more equal, healthy and prosperous world. On Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi made an appeal to put an end to the evil practice of child marriage in India. In a long appeal, Mr Satyarthi wrote,

Child marriage is a stigma that needs to be eradicated from its roots. This evil custom has been in practice for centuries and it needs to be abolished from our modern-day lives. This custom is an immoral deed, which to our misfortune, still has social acceptance and it diminishes the essence of childhood innocence in our society. Our young daughters are made to work under servitude as domestic labourers under the guise of child marriage. We see a disheartening reality where our young daughters face grave sexual exploitation in the name of a social custom every other day. Many innocent girls are not even aware that the lively wedding costumes, and lovely designs painted on their hands and alta-coloured feet, are truly like a fire whose smoke will smother them for the rest of their lives and eventually shatter their souls.

In his appeal to the nation, Mr Satyarthi shared an anecdote of a teenage girl who was enticed from Assam and married off to a man three times her age and of unsound mind. Eventually, she was rescued by the Kailash Satyarthi Children's Foundation from a village in Haryana.

The man had maintained her as his wife, as did his older brother. She served as a maid for the rest of the family all day long. We rescued her and set her free. She told me after being rescued, “My father is very poor and disabled. I didn't want to burden him. I was brought to Delhi by a man under the pretence of marriage. He did, however, sell me for 20,000 rupees. How will I show my face to my father when I go home? We managed to convince her and she eventually returned home with her brother. But under these circumstances, a lot of these girls even turn to suicide as an ultimate decision. Under the guise of marriage, trafficking forces a lot of girls into prostitution.

Mr Satyarthi saod that youth workers working with his organisation have prevented numerous child marriages in many villages over the past two and a half years. Indian law prohibits child marriage but even then, cases are reported.

The social activist made a clarion call to protect the daughters of India. He said,

23 out of 100 girls marry before turning 18 years old. My friends, whose children are these? They are Mother India's children. These are our daughters, our sisters. We also have a duty to ensure their safety, good health, and bright future.

He further announced the launch of a national campaign against child marriage. The campaign aims to reduce the child marriages in the country from the current 23 per cent to 10 per cent by the end of 2025. He said,

It should be the biggest, most comprehensive, and most effective campaign in the history of the world. Our hope is for one crore people across the nation to take part and support our campaign against child marriage. The campaign will be flagged off on the historic evening of October 16, 2022. On that day, 50,000 women and girls in 10,000 villages will pledge to eradicate the shame associated with child marriage. They will take this pledge with torches, candles, or earthen lamps in their hands.

Mr Satyarthi called people to join in large numbers, become a part of history, and witness the writing of this new chapter in the history of India. He said,

Never forget that history isn't made by spectators. History is created by those who bravely enter the fray. As this glorious chapter in India's history is being written, I urge you to participate in its creation rather than simply observe it.

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