She Was About To Be Married At The Age Of 15, But She Fought Back And Won
Like daughter, like mother
Yes, you read that right. This is the story of a daughter inspiring her mother to take a step in the right direction. This is Sarika’s story. A fifteen-year-old student of the ninth standard, Sarika was studying in the Sitalpur High School, in Munger, Bihar. One of the bright students in her class, Sarika was extremely interested in continuing her education. Her parents, though, thought otherwise. They were already on the lookout for a groom for this child and the first step they took was to stop her from going to school.
What they knew was that it was the norm to marry off their girl as soon as possible. This ensured her ‘security’ in her adolescence. What they didn’t know was that they had tremendously underestimated their own daughter. As soon as she came to know of her wedding, Sarika alerted her friends in the “Munna-Munni Manch” (Children’s Group in her village, Mai, an intervention by CRY-supported project Disha Vihar) and the Women’s Group. The parents, resorting to desperate measures, stopped her from leaving the house. She was trapped in her own home, and could not even meet her friends.
In the meanwhile, the family of the groom met Sarika’s parents, and her mother finalised her marriage. To make sure that there would be no obstacles in the way, the groom agreed not to take any dowry.
Sarika was not to be convinced. She held her ground. This enabled the staff of Disha Vihar, the community, the children’s group and the women’s group to sensitise Sarika’s parents against child marriage. While they spoke to the girl’s family about the ill effects of child marriage on the child’s life, they also explained the vulnerabilities that it would expose Sarika to; they informed the groom’s family that what they were doing is illegal.
Finally, the job was done. The groom’s family called off the marriage. Today, Sarika is back to doing what she does best – studying. She completed her Secondary Examinations in the year 2013 and Higher Secondary (Humanities) in the year 2015. She has applied for Bachelor of Arts in the colleges of Munger apart from pursuing a basic computer course.
This, however, is not the end of the story. What Sarika has been able to do, is sensitise an entire village against the process of child marriage. More so, today this girl is accompanied by her mother in stopping child marriages in not only her own village but also in the neighbouring ones.
That is what change makers are all about!