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Over 65,000 children are reported missing and remain untraced in India, a figure which has grown by 84% in the last three years. Nearly 10,000 children went missing in Maharashtra in 2016. Abductions and kidnappings by family and non-family members, child marriages, runaway, trafficked and lost children are among many more cases not even reported.
Child marriage is one of the burning problems of Indian society. In India, despite amended laws advocating 18 as the legal minimum age at marriage for females, a substantial proportion i.e. every third adolescent girl in the age group of 15-19 years is married and every second married adolescent girl has given birth to a child.
Child marriage ends childhood. It negatively influences children’s rights to education, health and protection. These consequences impact not just the girl directly, but also her family and community. Child marriage negatively affects the Indian economy and can lead to an intergenerational cycle of poverty.
How we help
We operate the first toll free telephone line and listening service for children in India and are still recognised as the number 1 best managed service in the country’s national network of Childline centres. Over 300 calls are received from our district every day, from children themselves or concerned adults who consider a child to be at risk.
Education plays a critical role in keeping girls safe from child marriage and our campaigns to promote girls’ education empower girls. Udaan organises activities and outreach programs to make children and their families aware of their rights and the laws, including the Child Marriage Prevention Act.
It also aims to providing income opportunities and financial independence for girls through vocational training.
Who we help
According to a 2019 UNICEF report, out of the 739 districts in India, Ahmednagar District rated as the 15th highest for child marriages. Childline India has also reported that Ahmednagar has the highest number of child marriages out of the 36 districts in Maharashtra.
In 2020, during the COVID 19 lockdown our Childline team remained vigilant, preventing 88 child marriages in Ahmednagar District and continues to offer follow-up support to the child brides rescued.
How you can help
Your support can help our teams raise awareness of the harm child marriage causes, the laws that protect children and the support we offer in finding and protecting vulnerable children from child marriages. Donate, volunteer or contact our team if you believe a child is at risk.
Pravin is a former beneficiary who has been a volunteer member of our Childline team for many years. He is fiercely dedicated to fighting injustice and protecting the rights of children.
Pravin is now leading our Udaan project working closely with all of our teams and is dedicated to preventing child marriage and empowering survivors to become independent.
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