NEW DELHI, Oct. 25, 2019 /PRNewswire/ --Arifa (name changed) from northern India's Uttar Pradesh state, is a child-rights activist, whose mission is to create awareness and prevent early marriages of adolescent girls in her village. 4 years ago, Arifa, who hails from a deprived background, was being married off at the age of 15 years. However, with the right support from CRY and its partner NGO SRF, she resisted early marriage. Today, this child-rights champion would soon appear for her 10th grade exams while fighting to convince her parents and prospective in-laws to again delay her marriage so that she can study further.
Though Arifa emerged victorious in stopping her early marriage, millions like her, who become victims are not necessarily that lucky. As per CRY Childiscents report, there are 9.2 million married children in India between 15-18 years and 3.4 million girls between 15-19 years are already mothers.
Besides disrupting girls' education and hindering their opportunities, child marriage, which is also a precursor to early motherhood poses dangerous health risks to girls while simultaneously increasing their chances of facing domestic violence.
In a journey spanning 40 years, CRY has played an instrumental role in addressing the child marriage issue in the intervention areas by creating awareness and imparting life skills training to adolescent girls and community women so that they can be empowered to say 'NO' to child marriage. CRY runs 21 projects focused on child marriage prevention and foiled over 1000 child marriages last year.
"As we brighten our homes this Diwali, let's also take a moment to think how we can contribute in becoming a ray of light and hope for India's disadvantaged children. For these children, the festive season is like all other days of the year, filled with despair. Our support in any possible form can collectively go a long way in lighting up their lives this festive season," adds Puja Marwaha, CEO of CRY.
CRY - Child Rights and You is an Indian NGO that believes in every child's right to a happy, healthy and creative childhood. For the last 40 years, CRY through its 850 initiatives have worked to ensure lasting change in the lives of more than 3 million underprivileged children, across 19 states in India.