To build awareness against child marriage and address the issue in a holistic manner, Jawhar Jyoti Bal Vikas Kendra (JJBVK), a grassroots level organisation supported by CRY – Child Rights and You, announces the launch of a weeklong mass awareness campaign in Samastipur district in Bihar.
January to March being the period when large numbers of marriage negotiations taking place, this campaign seeks to create an impact among the parents thus minimizing the number of child marriages in the region, the organizers said. This drive also aims at mobilizing members of the communities to take positive action against child marriages and to make them aware of its socio-cultural implications as well, they added.
With an aim to relook at the current status of child marriage and to arrive at a roadmap to address the issue in a meaningful and sustained manner, JJBVK has taken up this campaign, in collaboration with the district level administration of Samastipur.
On 14th March, the campaign kick started with a march, flagged off by Smt. Premlata, Chairperson of the Zila Parishad at Samastipur district headquarters. Among the dignitaries there were officials of the police, members of local Panchayats, representatives of Child Protection Committee (CWC) and Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) and members of the District Child Protection Unit (DCPU).
Appreciating the campaign Smt. Premlata said, “DCPU and CWC should come forward and take the ownership of such interventions eradicating the social menace.” She also ensured that panchayet would come forward and take it forward, in the best interest of young adolescent girls.
Saradindu Bandopadhyay, person in-charge of CRY operations in Bihar said, “Child marriage is the manifestation of age-old practices and cultural norms linked with patriarchal social system, lack of opportunity of education and protective environment for girls.” According to him, existing legal frameworks cannot alone eradicate the evil, until there is an overall change of mindset of the society at large.”
“Change in the mindset, increased opportunity of education and gender equality can ameliorate the issue. All the stake holders and duty bearers have to play their role in this regard,” Bandopadhyay added.
This campaign will include community meetings, village level film shows and street rallies. A trained cultural team will be part of this campaign. A well decorated cantor van with the messages depicting child marriage as social and cultural menace would run for seven days in different villages. Series of programmes will be organised in collaboration with DCPU and decentralised Child Protection Committee (CPC) structures in the villages and local police.