The ill practice of Child marriages continues to be practised in the State if the numbers provided by the officials are any indication. The Women Development and Child Welfare (WD&CW) Department officials have revealed that about 1,130 child marriages were prevented in the last year.
“Majority of the child marriage victims were from broken families, semi-orphans and orphans. In many cases, the bride was aged below 15 years,” said an NGO representative working to eradicate child marriages.
The lack of coordination between the Education, WD&CW, Endowments, Police and other concerned departments is a reason for the prevalence of the problem, say representatives of child rights organisations.
In connection with the ‘International Day of the Girl Child’ on October 11 (Wednesday), many NGOs have planned awareness programmes and seminars to enlighten people in rural areas and students on the need to prevent child marriages.
Teenage pregnancies were also reported in some parts of the State wherein some resulted in maternal and infant mortalities. Though the problem was severe, no proper measures have been taken to check minor marriages, say the NGOs working on child marriages.
The Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation (KSCF) has taken up a project in about 1,050 villages in Andhra Pradesh to prevent minor marriages.
Speaking to The Hindu on Monday, Child Rights Advocacy Foundation (CRAF) State programme director P. Francis Thambi said that a massive campaign has been launched against child marriages in rural areas.
Similarly, Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) State coordinators G. Tirupati Rao and B. Chandrashekar said that awareness campaigns were planned across the State in educational institutions to stop minor marriages.
“We often receive cases of child marriages and teenage pregnancies. Government officials concerned and the NGOs should organise more awareness meetings to stop the menace,” said Guntur Child Welfare Committee (CWC) Chairperson G. Arogya Pramila.
“Coordination between school teachers, Anganwadi workers, ANMs and Mahila Samrakshana Karyadarshulu (Mahila Police) at Grama and Ward Sachivalayams can prevent child marriages. Research on the reasons for child marriages should be done to check the practice”G. Arogya PramilaGuntur Child Welfare Committee Chairperson
“Coordination between school teachers, Anganwadi workers, ANMs and Mahila Samrakshana Karyadarshulu (Mahila Police) at Grama and Ward Sachivalayams can prevent child marriages. Research on the reasons for child marriages should be done to check the practice,” Ms. Pramila said.
Child marriages were found to be high in Prakasam, Kurnool, Ananthapur, Guntur and Vizianagaram districts, according to NHFS data.
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