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‘Child marriages rampant despite best efforts’

Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC) country director (India) Nancy Anabel has observed that in spite of the various rehabilitation measures by NGOs and the government sector to end child marriages, the social aberration is rampant in India, making 30% of the children vulnerable to the practice.

Addressing a press conference here on Monday, marking the conclusion of the 100-day digital campaign “Stop child marriages now” of the CCFC in association with Rural Organisation for Poverty Eradication Services (ROPES) and about 80 lead NGOs in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu, Ms. Anabel said the campaign was supported by Women and Child Welfare department, police department and Child Helpline 1098.

She said that the prime focus was on rural areas. “The campaign covered about seven lakh children and 300 communities in the three States. Poverty, illiteracy and lack of economic resources among the communities are main reasons driving them towards performing early marriages among their families,” she said.

The CCFC representative said the digital campaign consisted of a specially designed animated documentary depicting the evils and legal Implications of child marriages. The campaign organisers witnessed visible change in the mindset of the children after screening the video clips, she claimed. The CCFC had also widely distributed pamphlets, booklets and posters with topics on malnutrition, mother-child mortality rate, and health complications associated with child marriages in hundreds of villages in the targeted States.

46 marriages stopped

Director of ROPES P. Sree Latha said that 46 child marriages were stopped in Chittoor district alone during the 100-day campaign, with majority of the cases approaching the rescue teams through Child Helpline 1098.

“The campaign has equally focussed on the rehabilitation of the vulnerable communities and formation of children’s clubs in hundreds of villages,” she said.

CCFC communication manager Lipi Jobson and M&E officer Siju Mathew, staff Bhuvaneswari and Pamela spoke.

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