Child labour and child marriage are still sensitive areas in India. Despite the awareness campaigns and countless talk sessions held on these topics, one cannot deny the fact that child marriage and child labour still continue to go unchecked in various parts on India.

Such is the story of 27 year old D Rekha, a bonded labourer at 10, a wife by 13 and very soon she became a mother of three. She also had aspirations and dreams, but they were shattered when she became a bonded labourer. The ordeal began during her summer vacations after completing grade five, she was taken to a rice mill.

Such is the story of 27 year old D Rekha, a bonded labourer at 10, a wife by 13 and very soon she became a mother of three.

At the age of 13, when most girls enjoy school and hang out with friends, D Rekha experienced something different.  She was married to a mill worker when she was 13 years old. This mother of three, hails from Ganganagaram which is a village located near Tiruthani in Tiruvallur. It is heartening to know that due to her awareness she has made sure that her daughter gets an education, her eldest daughter is currently studying in class 8 in a school in Tiruthani.

“I wanted to join the police force, but child marriage shattered my dream,” said Rekha.

D Rekha is currently spreading awareness regarding the ill effects of child marriage. When she spoke at a gathering at a state-level adolescent consultation on “end child marriage, she said:

“My education was hampered as I was forced to marry early”

D Rekha
D Rekha speaks against child marriage and child labour

This gathering was organised by Arunodhaya Centre for Street and Working Children in partnership with UNICEF on Tuesday. D Rekha also said that while her cousin and her school mates became a teacher, she was forced to become a daily wager.

She is currently still working as a daily wager under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and is also learning tailoring.

A plan of action would be created by these adolescents so as to get them thinking regarding taking up initiatives against child marriage and child labour.

According to a press release, the two-day state level consultation was organised so that they could bring 100 adolescents together from all over the state. A plan of action would be created by these adolescents so as to get them thinking regarding taking up initiatives against child marriage and child labour.

Rekha said that there are several child marriages still taking place in the district.

“We are creating awareness against the ill-effects of child marriage among the locals.”

Despite the odds, Rekha today has the courage to stand against child marriage. One can only hope that more and more people are inspired by her and take a stand against this practice, which is prevalent in India even today.

Read also: Priyanka Shares Hasina’s Story Of How She Fought Child Marriage

Kavya Shah is an intern at SheThePeople.Tv

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