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Tamil Nadu girl who escaped child marriage has an extraordinary story to tell!

She is now the face to ‘no to child marriage’ campaign!

Nandhini Nagaraji, who is now 14-years-old, has an extraordinary story to tell where her courage and intelligence truly saved her from a terrible fate. The Tamil Nadu girl who hails from Thiruvannamalai was all of 13 when her marriage was fixed to man double her age.

Right before her marriage was supposed to take place, Nandhini called up the district collector’s office and informed them of what was happening. She had found their number via pamphlets from her school books. A day after informing them, she was rescued and sent to a children’s home.

Her story of courage comes from the sad state of affairs. Her mother passed away and her father abandoned her. So it was her maternal aunt who kept trying to get Nandhini married.

With the ambition of becoming an IAS officer one day, Nandhini hopes to rescue many other girls who have met similar fate.

Child marriage is a violation of child rights. According to Unicef, child marriages has a negative impact on physical growth, health, mental and emotional development too on the girl. Child marriage has been an issue in India for a long time, because of its root in traditional, cultural and religious protection it has been hard battle to fight. The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006 strives to eliminate child marriages and other connected matters. Under the Act, a marriage between a man above 18 years of age with a woman below 18 years of age is punishable with imprisonment of two years, a fine of up to Rs 1,00,000, or both.

According to a 2018 report, nearly 1.5 million girls in India get married before they turn 18. In the last 10 years, young women who were married as children has decreased by 15 per cent. Despite the figures going low, no state in India has managed to meet the Sustainable Development Goal target of eliminating this harmful practice by 2030.

 

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