SHRAWSTI, India, 03 October 2018 - Renu, 14, a native of Nathpurwa village of Shrawasti district, is once again, a happy girl. She spends her time playing with friends, going to school and studying. Renu has dreams for her future.
However, just a couple of months ago, this was a farfetched dream for Renu. Her father was determined to have her married off as she had ‘come of age’.
The prospect of marriage to a much older stranger was devastating for Renu. She tried her best to dissuade her parents from marrying her off but to no avail.
In spite of no support from her parents, Renu was determined to fight for her rights. She had heard of the committee for children and women and sought help from the Mahila Evam Baal Adhikar Manch (Women and Children’s Rights Platform). A tearful Renu narrated her story to Arunima, the Sahiyogini didi (facilitator), and requested her to counsel her parents against child marriage.
The next day, Arunima didi visited Renu’s home and told her father of the grave risks involved in getting his daughter married early, and that child marriage was a punishable offence. Renu’s father had not realized that marrying off a minor daughter could get him imprisoned for two years and to pay a fine. To Renu’s delight, the wedding was cancelled.
Renu continued her studies with her parents’ support. She goes to school now and is working hard to fulfil her dream of standing on her own feet and making a life for herself.