Child Bride in India Says No to Marriage

Rekha KalindiIt may be against the law in India, but that doesn’t mean that girls don’t continue to be married off when they’re young children. In fact, child marriage is a long-standing tradition in many parts of India, especially among poor families. These girls typically go along with their parents’ demands and give up school, and their childhood, much too young.

Getting married at a young age has many negative side-effects, both for the girls and the community. According to the United Nations:

  • Once married, girls tend not to go to school.
  • Girls married at young ages suffer from many health problems, including premature pregnancies, which cause higher rates of maternal and infant mortality. Teenage girls are also more vulnerable to sexually-transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS.
  • Young married girls are often abused by their husband. In addition, children who refuse to marry or who choose a marriage partner against the wishes of their parents are often punished or even killed by their families in so-called ‘honor killings.

Despite intense pressure by her family, 13-year-old Rekha Kalinda decided to take a stand. When she was only 12 years old, Rekha’s parents told her it was time for her to get married. Rekha had only been pulled out of working as a child laborer by UNICEF two years earlier and given the opportunity to go to a special school run, where she learned not only academics, but leadership skills. She had no intention of giving up her schooling to become a child bride like her older sister had at the age of 11.

Rekha was joined by teachers, classmates, and a government official in a march through the streets of their village to bring attention to her cause and convince her parents to drop their demand. Her parents eventually consented and as word spread, Rekha became a national hero for girls everywhere. In fact, her act of defiance has made her so popular that the Indian President met with her last spring. Her parents have become inspired too – her mother recently announced that all of their children will go to school and will not be married before they turn 18.

What a fantastic story! I love these reminders that one person can have a huge impact by standing up for what they believe in! Read more about Rekha’s activism at ABC News.

1 Comment »

  1. truthful Said,

    April 4, 2010 @ 4:37 pm

    what happened to u was so wrong and your parents should not have done that to u i thank u for being a strong girl and stand up for yourself u should arrest your parents and your groom for doing that some people are sick and they should pay there time to you

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