India: teenage girl from Rajasthan campaigns against child marriage

Photo credit: Vikalp Sansthan

This story is part of #MyLifeAt15, a global campaign asking governments to implement the Global Goals target to end child marriage by 2030. #MyLifeAt15 celebrates the dreams and ambitions we hold at the age of 15 in support of every girl having the opportunity to achieve hers, without child marriage holding her back.  

“In my village, more than half of the girls are married as children and this is true in so many other parts of India too – especially in the villages. When girls get married this early, whatever dreams they had before that time come to an end,” explains Chanda, a teenager from Rajasthan, India.

“I was one of the many girls in danger of this. I was engaged when I was a few months old and at 14 years old, my father made me leave school with the intention of getting me and my younger sister married. I was so scared of getting married and having my life and my sister’s life ruined, but we didn’t lose our confidence to fight.”

Chanda reached out to Vikalp Sansthan, a grassroots organisation that works to empower women and girls.

“With the help of Vikalp Sansthan and members of the community we stood up to our family. We told them that we refused to get married and explained why it would be a bad thing for everyone in the family. It took a long time and a lot of beatings from my father to finally convince them, but I was able to avoid marriage.”

Chanda is now determined to reach as many girls as possible with her story.

“While it [child marriage] is still a struggle, I am determined to make sure that other girls don’t have to go through what I did.”

Chanda has been selected as Asian Girls Ambassador from India. Today, she has started her journey to Taiwan’s Taipei City to attend series of events from 6th to 13th October on the occasion of International Girl Child Day organised by the Asian Girls’ Campaign and The Garden of Hope Foundation.

We received an update from Vikalp Sansthan about Chanda on 14 October: Chanda received a Community Development Award for her work to end child marriage.

Chanda, Vikalp Sansthan, India_smaller