Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” This is true for every goal one wants to achieve. Children of India, empowering children to be agents of change follows the same approach. The month of July saw one such preparation session where the movement leaders of the IMAGE project were given training on preventing Child Marriages.
IMAGE works for the prevention of Child Marriage while empowering the victims that have already been tied into it. In all the 15 districts that IMAGE functions, there are movement leaders who were once a victim of Child Marriage but now are advocating for the prevention of Child Marriage among their communities.
Due to COVID-19, it has become difficult for the movement leaders to assemble for discussion on strategies and ideas to prevent early marriages, but IMAGE continues to prepare them virtually. A zoom meeting was conducted in the first week of July for this, where 62 leaders from the districts of Bagalkot, Belagavi, Chikkaballapura, Bidar and Chamrajnagar joined the meeting. The IMAGE staff initiated the discussion to form strategies to prevent Child Marriages at different levels. The movement leaders were made to understand the different levels, namely- family level, village level, panchayat level, and taluka level and learnt different reporting mechanisms to authorities for each level.
Additionally, to prevent child marriages, the leaders were given training by the staff to start their advocacy campaign among their family members and peers against the issue, by initiating discussions about the importance of sending children to school rather than getting them married. They were also encouraged to teach their younger siblings to take a firm stand against Child Marriage and always push forth for completing education. The movement leaders were also motivated to speak about the consequences of Child Marriage in the weekly panchayat meetings. This will not only throw light on the issue but would warn the parents of the village children to not participate in Child Marriage.
The movement leaders were interactive throughout the session as they understood the importance of preparing to speak against Child Marriage and confirmed that they were willing to practice what they learnt during the session.
By Vaishnavi, Communication Associate.