“Sejal is a bright girl, who is active in school and very keen. Sejal’s family is very poor
and her parents are striving to feed their 5 children. The father is a rikshaw driver and the mother is working only now and then. They live in the Sathaglli slum, in the eastern part of Mysore, at 6 km from the city center, where more than 300 families live.
Sejal loves going to school and regularly participates in the meetings of the Child Rights Club, where she is learning all about children’s rights and other matters concerning childhood.
But, one day, Sejal’s parents decided that their daughter should interrupt her education, and organized her wedding to a much older man than she. Unfortunately, early marriage is a very common practice in India, because it rids the family of one person to be fed, and, also, it is a way to control girls’ sexuality and avoid premarital sex.
Nevertheless, Sejal strongly opposed to that and informed our staff, while asking them for help and stop her marriage. We acted immediately and visited the girl’s family at home. We spoke to her parents and persuaded them to change their ideas about Sejal’s future. Later on, they participated in the sensitization meetings about risks and disadvantages of early marriages. So, they were helped to understand the importance of education for girls, too.
Nowadays, Sejal is very happy, because, thanks to her obstinacy and our intervention, she succeeded in stopping her marriage, but the most important thing is that she succeeded in continuing her education, to make her dreams come true.”
Paola, WeWorld’s operator in India
The situation in India
India is one of the biggest countries in the world with a population of 1.28 billion inhabitants (2017 estimate) and is subdivided in 29 states and 7 administrative divisions with 20 officially recognized languages.
India is ranking the 131st position over 188 countries, according to the UN human development index 2016 (an index which is used to measure a country’s welfare and is based on life expectancy, on education level and on the pro-capite GNI), having the 30% of its population living under the poverty level.
India’s diversified economy includes the village traditional agriculture, the modern agriculture, arts and craft, a large range of modern industries, and a multitude of services. A little less than a half of its manpower is employed in agriculture, but services produce the highest profits.
Despite India’s growth slowed down in 2017 (minus 7%), the Country’s growth perspective in the long run is moderately positive, because of its very young population (more than the 45% of the population is under 24 years old), low drug addiction rate, good investment rates and the growing integration into the global economy. The Home Gross Product per-head in India amounts to US$ 7,200, whilst the Italian HGP amounts to US$ 38,000 (2017 estimate).
However, this growth is not inclusive: the 21.9% of people live under the poverty level and long term challenges remain significant: unfortunately, India’s energy production and distribution system is inefficient, there is an inefficacious application of intellectual property rights, transports and agricultural infrastructures are inadequate. Moreover, there are limited employment possibilities outside agriculture.
The main challenges that are recognized as obstacles to the economic growth of India are: female gender discrimination (affecting baby girls, young girls and women); high expenses and benefits which are not targeted enough, an inadequate availability of primary and higher quality education and the lack of welcome to internal migration coming from the rural context to the towns (yearly urbanization rate 2.28%). (Source: CIA World FactBook).
How we are intervening
From year 2017 to 2020, our program for India as a Country, has been focusing on interventions facing the main weaknesses of the country, by bearing in mind the purpose to contribute to an inclusive and sustainable growth, on a long term:
- Stopping discrimination against women and young girls with a new program at Goa and in North Karnataka;
- Improve most vulnerable families’ access to publics schemes and services aimed at reducing poverty and social exclusion;
- Ensuring a better quality education in schools thru direct interventions and by appealing to the program and to the government’s resources.
- Guaranteeing the right to learn for children belonging to seasonal migrant families.
A QUALITATIVE STUDY OF THE LEGAL DIMENSIONS OF ‘DEVADASI’ DEDICATION PHENOMENON – 2018 – Dr. Bincy Wilson, Ms. Shruthi Raman and Ms. Anuroopa Giliyal – CENTRE FOR CHILD AND THE LAW NATIONAL LAW SCHOOL OF INDIA UNIVERSITY NAGARBHAVI BENGALURU – sponsored by WeWorld.
The study attempted to identify the gaps in the current legislations prohibiting dedication, examine the application of these legislations and schemes, examine the types of violations and offences committed through the dedication of girls and women and assess the level of understanding of the stakeholders on the legal provisions, procedures and schemes to take action in cases related to dedication, CSA and CSE of children. This research paper and its findings will be use to sensitize government, the police and other state functionaries to this perennial crime against girls and women who face triple discrimination due to their caste, their class and their gender and some of them in addition due to their disabilities.
THE DEVADASI SYSTEM: SOCIAL CONTEXT, RESPONSES AND RESISTANCE – 2018 – Centre for Criminology and Justice School of Social Work Tata Institute of Social Sciences Mumbai – supported by WeWorld.
This study attempts to uncover the social context of the devadasi system in Bellary and Siruguppa talukas, located Bellary district in North Karnataka, India. In order to explore individual and community resistance to the devadasi system, the research extended itself to Vasco in Marmugoa taluka in Goa, India. Vasco was earlier known as a destination area for devadasi women exploited for commercial sex. The study explores the role and challenges faced by individuals, community, State and civil society organisations in preventing the devadasi system and facilitating supporting services like rescue and rehabilitation.]
INCIDENCE OF IN CHAMARAJANAGAR DISTRICT OF KARNATAKA AN ASSESSMENT IN 6 VILLAGES OF GUNDLUPET BLOCK CHILD MIGRATION -2017- Study conducted by Aide et Action with the field support of Rural Literacy & Health Program (RLHP) – and sponsored by WeWorld.
The objective of the assessment was to ascertain the incidence of labour migration from Chamrajnagar to the plantation sites in Kerala and to capture vulnerability of accompanying migrant children. The assessment reveals growing distress migration in Gundlupet block of Karnataka. People, mostly landless, small and marginal farmers, have adopted the option of migrating out as a coping up mechanism to the prevailing drought and employment insecurity in their villages. 47% of the family members migrate. Children constitute 40% of the total migrant population. And 22% of the children accompany their parents who are in the age group of 6-18 years. These children do not access any school at their migration places and lose interest in studies. Eventually these children get dropped out of school by the time they have reached higher class.