“I can speak out against child marriage better now, and it’s not easy!”, says Rashmi. “Yes, it’s a lot more difficult than we thought. But we are developing ourselves to resist it.”, adds her friend Gouri.
Rashmi and Gouri have just completed a 3-day residential training on child rights for leaders of the KKS sanghas. KKS (Kanasu Kishori Sanghatane) is a network of 250 sanghas of adolescent girls in Kukanoor Taluk of Koppal district.
The child rights training was led by veteran child rights activist, Antony Chinnappa from Anthyodaya, Mudhol. “Children becoming conscious of their rights and working together to claim the rights for all children is the way forward”, he says. “That’s why these trainings become important.”
The training enables participants to connect the principles of the UNCRC with their daily lives. They learn the institutional mechanisms available to protect those rights and how to access those mechanisms.
As part of the training, Antony role played a father who is planning to get his 14-year old daughter married off. The participants had to convince him why he should not. The arguments flowed back and forth. “We struggled to convince him why he shouldn’t marry his daughter. Finally, we threatened as a group to get the CWC and police involved, that’s when he began to agree”, explains Gouri. “We learnt that we need to use reason and collective action to protect our rights. We are not alone.”