16-year-old Janaki Stops Her Own Wedding
Janaki was preparing for her grade 10 exam, when she heard from a relative that her parents have arranged a match for her. She was surprised – “I was hurt that my parents took a decision about my life without consulting me.”
16-year-old Janaki shared the news with her friends from her child club. On her friends’ advice, she decided to speak to her parents to change their decision. She talked to her parents, and even cried but her parents did not listen to her. The child club members approached the ward child protection committee, which in turn informed the police about Janaki’s impending wedding. With the support of the child protection committee and the law enforcement authority, she filed a case at the police station. The police called the parents of both the boy and the girl and convinced them to stop the wedding. They were also informed them about the national law against child marriage.
“If I was married, I would most likely never go to school again, I would be forced to stay at home, I might become a mother soon – this happens to every girl in my village who marry at an early age,” says Janaki, who is visibly happy after her wedding was cancelled.
Her parents admit that they were forced by the societal norms in the village to get daughters marry early. Her father says, “We will never force her to get married.”
After the incident, she joined the child club in her community and is actively campaigning against child marriage, sharing her experience with other children like her. She just graduated from grade 10 and plans to learn how to use computer applications.
Protective Community Protected Child project works with child clubs, religious leaders, police, ward representative, and ward child protection committee to reduce the child marriage in two Rural Municipality/Municipality of Rukum district. Similarly the project is also implemented in Salyan and Jajarkot district. The priests in the community have pledged that they will not officiate marriage ceremonies of people under the age of 20 while all ward representatives have also committed to campaign against child marriage. The police also reported that they have stopped 11 illegal weddings from taking place in the last three months.