Pragathi FM

Leaving no stone unturned to ensure children achieve their dreams

When CRY supported project Pragathi came to know of the impending child marriage of 21 girls from the community, they came up with an innovative idea to prevent it and help the girls live their dreams.

The girls, between 16-17 years of age had dropped out of school and worked as child labourers. The easy solution would have been to help the children back in to school. However, their parents could not send them to high school or junior college as the nearest school / college was anywhere between 3- 15 km away.  After missing out significant years of schooling, the girls too were hesitant to join school.

The project team was determined and not ready to give up just yet. Pragathi came up with an alternative solution of getting the girls to join a vocational training course. This would immediately help some of the girls to join work as soon as they turned 18 and help the younger ones get back to learning.  They contacted Durgabai Mahila Sishu Vikasa Kendram (DMSVK) at Tirupathi, a government institute which conducts vocational courses for girls, to conduct training for the girls. The girls had expressed interest in learning about health care.  In keeping with the special request, the institute conducted a specialized “Bed-side Assistant training” for 3 months. Special hostel facilities were also arranged for the students. It took a lot of persuasion and effort to get the institute and parents on-board for this initiative.

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The team went a step further to ensure that the girls stayed on track. Pragathi’s Director and team regularly visited the children during their training and took sessions on Child Rights with emphasis on child marriages. They also helped them adjust to the new environment. Overall there was great sense of excitement for a new beginning among the girls.

After completing the training, the children are determined to pursue a career and not fall trap to child marriage. Now the parents too have started encouraging their children to pursue further training.  More importantly, they have gained some confidence to appear for Std 10 and Std 12 exams through Open School system.

As soon as they complete 18 years, the girls can get jobs in hospitals. Some of them approaching 18 years are already undertaking practical training in hospitals.

CRY supported project Pragathi has been on a crusade to end child marriage in the project area of Chittoor district which is rather infamously known for large scale child marriage.  Alternative solutions are being adopted to encourage children to learn new skills and study further making them professionally skilled, educated and financially independent for a healthy lifestyle, secured future and a happy living.

Child Marriage has myriad implications and one of them is early motherhood and high risk health problems. This not only affects the mother, but even the infant born is malnourished and prone to being ill. Help us arrest this vicious cycle of malnutrition at bit.ly/Right_Start

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