“I took up social work as a degree in college because it was a different field of work. But the journey from there has been nothing short of transformative. I began my career working as a project coordinator with ChildLine Foundation, an organisation funded by UNESCO which works for children’s welfare.
It was a very brief stint there but one that had given me a ton of experiences and perspectives about life. Over the course of my time, I had saved more than 200 girl children from child marriages, rescued multiple kids from places and put them in shelter homes and most importantly, worked on multiple cases of sexual abuse. I have had the craziest time doing work on the field – ones that tested my grit and strength above anything else.
Child marriages are very much real and are still happening all over the world. It is so shocking and disheartening to see how far removed we are from this part of the world. Most of us are so unaware of the laws and regulations and it puts us in such a weak position. People often complain about the system but it is a fundamental duty of everyone to keep oneself acquainted with the laws of the system.
I would like to regale a couple of distinct experiences from here. One time, I had to travel to a remote village to rescue a girl who was hiding under a bridge. Turns out that she was under extreme physical abuse from her own brother and she had fled the house since she couldn’t take it anymore. When we approached the girl’s parents, we received an appalling reaction from her mother who went on to say that the girl deserved it and she needed to be disciplined a certain way.
Another time, we rescued two kids under the age of 10 from a remote village on the outskirts. Turns out, the mother cooks food every day for them and then locks the house to go to work. The children spent a good amount of years locked inside a small hut with absolutely no means to step out even basic biological needs. When we rescued them and admitted them to a shelter home, the kids couldn’t withstand the sun even for a minute. They had spent all their lives inside a closed room that they had no idea of the world outside.
I have received so many death threats from family members of minor girl children who proclaim loudly to behead me if I dare stop the wedding. It might have been a little scary in the beginning but hearing the stories of these children once they are out of their family’s hold is reason enough for me to do this. Young girls are married to family elders who are at least 20 to 30 years elder than them. The incidents leading until the moment I rescue the girl and leave her safely at a place with the support of police officials have been nothing short of dramatic.
Parents plead with me with heavy cash in their hands to ask me to let go of their child claiming they will let her study. To say that such practices still exist all around us is sometimes so disheartening. How many more such children are suffering horribly in marriages? I had to leave ChildLine due to a lot of reasons. I am currently working with CWD and my work currently revolves around mentoring kids belonging to slum regions. Gaining their trust and making them open up to me in order to help them has been truly a fulfilling journey.
The monetary compensation for my work has never been something that I could call a significant amount but the fulfilment from doing the work I do largely compensates for everything. I am doing my part here by being the voice of God for so many women here and I am so grateful for the role I play here.”