A joint initiative by district administration and UNICEF to end child marriage in Malda district of West Bengal is helping girls like Anita gain the knowledge and confidence to say no to child marriage
Indian legislation banned child marriage in 1929 and enforced it with the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006 making it illegal for girls to marry below 18 and for boys below 21 years
Anita joined this theatre group a year and half ago after her parents planned to marry her with her cousin, which she refused. “They never asked my opinion. I was very upset,” Anita recalls
Some neighbours and especially the community’s young women supported Anita’s struggle.
Being in the theatre group has given Anita the power to voice her opinion. “Now people recognize me and know who I am and they listen to me
Education of girls and their economic independence are seen as key solutions to save them from getting married at an early age. “It is useless to talk about prevention of child marriage if the girls have no alternative options for livelihood and will continue to be seen as parents’ liability and burden,