n a bold step towards eradicating child marriage, Khowai District Magistrate Chandni Chandran has introduced CHESTA (Child Marriage Elimination through Sensitization, Tracking and Awareness). This comprehensive initiative aims to combat child marriage, a deeply entrenched social ill that deprives young girls of their fundamental rights and opportunities.
CHESTA: A Multifaceted Approach
CHESTA is designed to address child marriage from multiple angles, encompassing prevention, education, and empowerment. The program’s key objectives include:
- Prevention: Raising awareness about the harmful consequences of child marriage among communities, families, and religious leaders.
- Tracking: Establishing robust tracking mechanisms to identify and prevent potential child marriages. This includes the formation of ‘Batika Manch’, an association of school-going girls under the guidance of a female teacher, tasked with reporting any incidents of child marriage to their guide teacher.
- Education: Ensuring that girls continue their education by providing necessary support and interventions for those who have dropped out due to child marriage.
- Empowerment: Empowering young girls through vocational training and skill development to enhance their economic independence and reduce their vulnerability to child marriage.
Tackling a Persistente Social Malady
Child marriage remains a prevalent issue in India, with an estimated 23 million girls married before the age of 18. The practice is deeply rooted in social norms, cultural traditions, and poverty, leading to a host of negative consequences for young girls.
Empowering Communities for Change
CHESTA recognizes that addressing child marriage requires a holistic approach that involves not only government intervention but also the active participation of communities and families. By fostering dialogue, raising awareness, and empowering girls, CHESTA seeks to create an environment where child marriage is no longer an acceptable practice.
A Beacon of Hope for a Brighter Future
Khowai DM Chandni Chandran’s initiative serves as a beacon of hope in the fight against child marriage. CHESTA’s comprehensive approach, coupled with its commitment to community engagement, has the potential to transform the lives of countless young girls, paving the way for a brighter and more equitable future.