When 17-year-old Sajbun says ‘NO’ to her marriage

Child marriage isn’t an unacknowledged topic. With rallies, movements and awareness drives active through various means in almost every region of the country, more and more people are now endorsing against child marriage. However, still, one in three of the world’s child brides live in India. Of the country’s 223 million child brides, 102 million were married before turning 15. Approximately one in four young women in India were married or in union before their 18th birthday.*

When 17-year-old Sajbun faced a similar situation, she did not only fight for herself but also fought against the idea of child marriage for every girl out there who could be forced into marrying at an unlawful age without her own consent.

Sajbun was studying in class VIII at UMS Prandih, Devipur Block of Deoghar District, Jharkhand, when her parents found a match for her. Her father Budhan Miya is a daily wage laborer and her mother Kherun Bibi is a seasonal farmer. Upon finding someone to marry her off to, Sajbun was forced to drop out of school while preparing for Class VIII board exam.

Shocked to hear this news and determined to complete her education, 17-year-old Sajbun immediately took help of the Teacher’s Guild of UMS Prandih School along with SMC President. A meeting was organized in the school premises where the teachers counselled her parents on appropriate and legal age of marriage. The teachers also held an awareness rally on Prohibition on Child Marriage headed by Sajbun. Various other personal meetings and counselling sessions were also organized for parents.

Sajbun now continues to study and her parents have keenly agreed on letting Sajbun chase her dreams and fulfil them. Her father said, “I will allow my daughter to reach all the heights she wants and marry according to her own wish.” Sajbun is a hero in the eyes of her schoolmates and her village where community members are now encouraging girl child education and are realizing the ills of child marriage.

Sajbun aspires to become a nurse and a social activist to empower all the girls who are victimized to the idea of child marriage. She considers herself blessed to be back in school.

*Source: Ending Child Marriage: A profile of progress in India – UNICEF DATA

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