April 27, 2022
Heera’s dream of pursuing an education was put on hold at the age of twelve—the year she got married.
She was forced to drop out of school to work on her in-laws’ farm and soon became pregnant with her first child. Heera eventually resumed attending school but didn’t graduate due to her new responsibilities as a wife and mother.
Propelled by her experience and struggle, Heera—a new Rise Up Leader in Rajasthan, India—is now determined to put an end to child marriage in her community.
“I want people to understand that child marriage ruins the life of a girl and their dreams,” Heera said. “Education is very important and child marriage leads girls to drop out from their studies and their self-confidence is lost.”
Although India passed the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act in 2006, the 2021 National Family Health Survey of Rajasthan found that more than 25 percent of girls were married before the age of 18.
With training and support from Rise Up, Heera plans to advocate for improved implementation of this law, by ensuring the appointment of Child Marriage Prohibition Officers who can enforce the law at a local level. She will carry out her advocacy through her work as a Senior Field Worker at Urmul Setu Sansthan, an organization dedicated to empowering women and children living in rural India.
Looking to the future, Heera said, “My dream is to make my community child-marriage free, and that every girl gets the opportunity to complete her education and have livelihood options so that she is not dependent on anyone.”
Stay tuned for more updates from Heera and her fellow Rajasthan Leaders.