She’s almost 15! Back in our hometown in Bihar she would be considered old enough to be married!” says Chandani Gafar Ansari’s father, a migrant hanger-maker who lives in the slum community of Shivajinagar, Mumbai. Their rented house is home to his wife, a homemaker, his teenage nephew Hasrath, his 14-year-old daughter Chandani and her younger brother and sister.
Chandani used to attend regular school until class 4, when she dropped out to briefly visit her native village. After she returned to Mumbai though, she never rejoined school, and at 14 years her family began hunting for a groom for her.
It was at this stage that one of our community workers met Chandani at home, and enquired about why the school-aged girl wasn’t being given an education. Chandani’s father was adamant at the suggestion. He believed that Chandani had studied more than enough, and was ready to be married. He felt that educating girls all the way into their adulthood was customary only in metropolitan cities like Mumbai, and he felt compelled to stay true to the traditions of his forefathers.
For nearly five months our community worker visited the family to convince them of the ills of child marriage, and the accompanying health hazards for teenage girls. While Chandani’s mom relented, her father took longer to be convinced. Eventually though, the family agreed to allow Chandani to complete her school education and admitted her in Vision Rescue’s Open Basic Education program (OBE).
At her OBE classes, Chandani is picking up her education from where she left off. She can soon give her OBE exams that are equivalent to the formal schooling she underwent earlier and when the new academic year begins, she will be enrolled once again into regular school. Her younger brother and sister have joined our education programs too, and her cousin brother Hasrath now volunteers with Vision Rescue as a community intern.
Thank you for stepping in to impact an entire family like Chandani’s ! Because of your support teenage girls like her can continue with their education and grow to their fullest potential!