Radha, a 16-year-old girl from the Madhuban Panchayat in Jharkhand's Koderma district, has become a source of inspiration for numerous girls who are forced into marriage before the legal age. She not only prevented her own child marriage but was also made the brand ambassador against child marriage by the Koderma district administration. Radha's courageous act of stopping her child marriage against the will of her family has made her a role model for many young girls.
Radha's father, who serves as the village priest, had arranged for her marriage to a boy from a neighbouring village. However, as the head of the Bal Panchayat in Tikait Tola, a Bal Mitra Gram of the Kailash Satyarthi Children's Foundation (KSCF), Radha was well aware of her rights and understood that child marriage is against the law.
She tried convincing her parents to cancel the marriage as she wanted to continue her education and knew about the negative consequences of child marriage. However, Radha's efforts were unsuccessful. Spearheading the movement against child marriage, child abuse, and child trafficking in her community, she reached out to KSCF activists for their help after a meeting with other members of the Bal Panchayat.
The KSCF team was prompt in reaching out to her family and urged them to call off the wedding but to no avail. Radha did not give up even after the second failed attempt to stop her marriage. With her undeterred spirit, she called up the prospective groom’s father and demanded him to either cancel the marriage or be ready to face legal action.
She was finally successful in stopping her child marriage and became a role model for the girls of her community. Soon after, Radha was felicitated by the Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Koderma, Mr Ramesh Gholap and was declared the Brand Ambassador against child marriage in the district. He also sanctioned Rs 2000 per month for Radha under the government’s ‘Mukhyamantri Sukanya’ scheme. Additionally, Radha’s family was also linked with various government schemes including a Ration Card for buying subsidised food grains, a Golden Card for free medical treatment a monthly old age pension of INR 1000 for Radha’s father.
Mr Gholap also instructed the Women and Child Development (WCD) officers to conduct an awareness campaign on the issue of child marriage in collaboration with KSCF.