Young people are at an important, pivotal moment in their lives. It is a time of opportunity, idealism and promise. Sadly, for too many, it is also a time when poverty and inequity pass to the next generation, where young girls in poverty give birth to further impoverished children. This cycle is particularly common for young people with low levels of education.

Currently in India, close to 43 per cent of women aged 20-24 were married before they reached the age of 18. Girls who marry young are likely to drop out of school early, as well as being at risk of giving birth before their bodies are ready. Children who marry under the legal age are also often more vulnerable to violence, social marginalisation and exclusion from child protection services

What UNICEF is doing

Together with the Government of India, UNICEF has launched a campaign which seeks to encourage communities to protect their children from marrying when they are young.

Information on the risks of child marriage will be shared through street theatre, radio programmes, posters and wall murals, as well as focus group discussions and working with mother support groups and village elders. 

Through schools and local girl groups set up by the Anganwadi (community health centres), girls will be also be provided with a space to talk about the things that effect them and will learn important life skills to help prepare them for the future.  

Help us achieve this goal

Time and again, evidence shows that educated girls are less likely to marry early, less likely to get pregnant as teenagers, more likely to have correct and comprehensive knowledge of health issues and more likely to have healthy children when they eventually become mothers.

£25,000 could support project activities in one district in India.

To find out more about this project or to support it, please email us or call the Trusts and Foundations Team on 020 7375 6103.

Support UNICEF with grants and donations. © UNICEF/INDA2011-00300/Lana Slezic
17 year old Madhalsi Sarkar's parents tried to marry her to a 27 year old man but the marriage was prevented by the Child Helpline. Her parents were not aware of the child marriage act. © UNICEF/INDA2011-00300/Lana Slezic