Standing up for her sister
Standing up for her sister

Sunita Kumari Kohar, 20, a Dalit (so-called lower caste) young woman, is an inhabitant of Mayadevi Rural Municipality in Kapilvastu. She has two elder sisters and two younger brothers. She is now a 12th grader but has not enrolled in college for further studies partly due to her financial constraints and the limited availability of higher colleges nearby. Her father makes a living by tailoring in a nearby market centre, whereas her mother takes care of all the household chores and does occassional wage labour in the village.

While growing up, Sunita saw her eldest sister get married – who had only studied up to the fifth grade. Although it was a child marriage, Sunita had no idea and was thinking it was a norm which everybody had to abide by.

In 2019, Sunita joined as a youth club member in the project Child and Youth for Community Change (CYCC). As part of the project, the club used to organise sessions on harmful traditional practices. She was surprised to know about the harmful consequences of prevalent practices, such as child marriage, untouchability, gender-based violence and their detrimental consequences. She curiously learned about the ill practices in her community and started engaging actively in the club activitiesSoon she was selected to represent her club in the network of eight such clubs in the rural municipality. She also gained knowledge about advocating for the rights of women and children and how young people like her could make a difference.

One day, her father decided to arrange the marriage of her second elder sister without discussing with the family. She talked to her father and suggested to him to stop the marriage plans. Her father was furious, but she insisted on postponing the marriage, citing that her sister is still underage.

As her father didn’t seem to stop, she invited some youth club members to come and convince her father. Upon her father’s consistent refusal, she then gathered a big mass of the club members. As he was indifferent to their request too, some club members warned her father that if he insisted, they could call the police.

Finally, her father quietly agreed to postpone the marriage but was extremely cross with Sunita. “If you were not educated, you would have obeyed me today. It was my fault to send you to school”, he said Sunita was disheartened to have caused this rift but her sister, with tears in her eyes, hugged Sunita saying, “I could have ended up being a bride if you hadn’t intervened”.

Key Highlights
  • 367 youth are engaged in community development through 8 Youth Clubs.
  • 23 school-based child clubs reformed and strengthened with 4,576 children involved. Each club has three wings – environment, sports, and culture.
  • 8 wards have formed and strengthened their own child protection committees and women’s networks, advocating and protecting children’s and women’s rights.
  • 3,450 households directly benefit from the CYCC Project.

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *