Sonepur: In a first, seven villages out of 43 villages identified as most vulnerable in terms of child marriage in this district have the prestigious tag of ‘child marriage free village’.
In past years, the district had reported many cases of child marriages. Waking up to the alarming situation, the district administration took several initiatives to put an end to this evil practice. A movement in the name of ‘Sankalp’ is underway across the district. Under the movement, the administration is taking various steps to sensitise parents about the adverse impact of the early age marriages of their daughters.
Similarly, various programmes have been taken into hands to give the victims of child marriage a better and secured life. The administration has identified 43 villages as most vulnerable villages in terms of child marriage.
The administration’s efforts have finally paid dividends. Seven of the 43 villages have become child marriage-free villages.
On the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, the district administration in association with Action Aid and UNICEF declared the villages as free from the heinous practice of marrying off children at a tender age.
The villages which have received the tag for the first time in the district are Janamura of Sonepur block, Salipali of Ulunda block, Jampali of Binika block, Gajabandh of Dunguripali block, Kheramal of Biramaharajpur block and Surajimund and Bhurad villages of Tarabha block.
Due to the steps the government has been taking for the last two years, these villages have not reported even a single case of child marriage in the period.
Child marriage protection officer (CMPO) Sabita Dora, members of the child marriage protection committees, teachers and villagers took a pledge not to allow child marriage in their village.
With a view to make all the 43 villages as free from child marriage, another initiative has been taken since July, 2020.
Under this initiative, village level ‘child marriage protection committees’ have been formed at all the villages and every week activities like rallies, meetings and pledge taking events involving girls, youths, villagers, parents and women of SHGs are being organised.
The administration in association with Action Aid and UNICEF has formed task force and taken some more steps to check child marriage in the district, it was learnt.