Teacher’s Diary: Battling Against Child Marriages — One Student At A Time
A primary school teacher shares her experience about her attempts to bring about a positive social change in a village by doing her bit to eradicate child marriages. She raised awareness amongst her students and tries to educate as many students as she possibly can.
Dayawati 22 Jun 2023 12:37 PM GMT
We teachers have to stand against evil practices and bring about the change we want to see in the world by sometimes intervening in the conservative rural societies our students hail from.
I started off my journey as a teacher in the year 2015 when I joined as a trainee teacher at a primary school in Bahadurpur village in Uttar Pradesh’s Bahraich district. In this village, I found that the girls were usually married off at a very young age. As part of my responsibilities as a trainee, I was tasked with going door to door to convince children to come to school regularly. Sometimes, I had to resort to teaching them at their houses.
It was saddening to see that some girls were married off and not allowed to pursue their education any further.
After enquiring about the crisis, I gathered that the girls are married off in their early teens and their gauna [practice of sending off the bride to cohabit with the groom] also precipitates within the next five years. I decided to do something about this evil practice which sabotages the aspirations of so many girls.
Khushi, a 14-year-old student in my class, was coerced to marry by her parents. When I came to know about it, I intervened and tried to convince them to not marry her so soon to which they replied, “We will marry her now but the gauna will take place after five years”.
Since they were adamant about getting their daughter married, I explained to them that if they do so, they will have to face the consequences and chances are that they might also be put behind the bars. I asked them to let her study and marry her later when she is ready for it. Finally, after a lot of persuasion, they agreed. Small victories.
Meanwhile, my training got over and I was then posted at Sheikhpura village in the same district. I gradually established a connection with a lot of children in this village. Amongst them one hard working and determined student named Amit. During the lockdown enforced as a measure to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, he worked hard to connect me with all the students in the village for online classes which was a great help to me. I used to think Amit would definitely do something good after further studying but inclement circumstances forced him to work as migrant worker in Mumbai.
The financial crunch in his family worsened the conditions and made him drop out of his school so that he can help his family back home.
Afterwards, I decided to persuade his family to call him back to the village as he is too young to do a job.
Later, after many arguments with his family I succeeded and Amit was called back from Mumbai however it is saddening that he still works at a small bakery shop in the village.