"When I said no to marriage, Snehalaya helped me pack my bags for school"
There’s every reason for Anjun to celebrate. Saving herself from an arranged marriage to secure a seat in an Auxiliary Nurse Midwife course, Anjun has got everything right. But, not without encountering challenges.
Bringing an end to a girl’s education to take care of siblings or forcing her to marry at a tender age is endemic in villages. Anjun faced the same fate when she was forced to stay back from school to take care of her two younger siblings. Soon after her parents arranged for her marriage. Three days after the wedding and realising she was unhappy with the union, Anjun escaped from the clutches of her husband and travelled the 120 km trip back to her hometown.
Many parents believe that giving their daughters in marriage offers protection for their daughters and takes financial pressures off the family. However Anjun’s story is a clear example of how poverty, ignorance and social pressure can jeopardise the life of vulnerable children depriving them of their own personal dreams.
When she returned home, she was one of the many to watch ‘He Named me Malala’ at one of our roadshow screenings. After the screening, Anjun thought, “If a 12-year-old can do all of this for her education, I can fight for mine too.' Anjun came to Snehalaya asking for our help and is currently being fully supported by us to achieve her ambition of becoming a social worker. Snehalaya also agreed to educate her sister as her parents couldn't afford to.
“I am confident and want to complete my nursing course. Now I am daring to dream of a brighter future and want to support other girls who are in difficult situations” says Anjun with a sparkle in her eyes.
Anjun could see that an education would give her the ability to make her own decisions and the right to make her choices. Like Anjun, many other girls in our community will also have a chance to dare to dream and shape their futures, thanks to campaigns such as Students Stand with Malala and the support of Snehalaya.
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