Background about the Issue :
People’s Institute of Rural development (PIRD) is a voluntary organization registered under Public Trust Act, Societies Registration Act and Foreign Contributions Act; actively operating in districts of Latur, Parbhani & Osmanabad of Marathwada region in the state of Maharashtra, since last three decades. The thematic areas of work are Women Empowerment, Natural Resource Management, issues of Landless Labors & Eradication of Child Labour. PIRD is involved in the work related to eradication of child labour; since its very inception stage. The organization is been successful in bringing back 1570 children in main stream formal education through advocacy & campaigning and changing the mindset of the parents of these children and in few cases institutionalizing the children in order to ensure their main stream formal education.
While executing the project related to child labour; outcomes of deliberate, studied and research based interventions of the organization; showcased and demanded the organization to attend on issues related to rampant ‘girl child marriages’ in Marathwada region. The statics collected after the survey on the issue of ‘girl child marriage ’was a curtain raiser document on the evils and problems related to girls who were married at a very tender age.
Issue of girl child marriages :
Especially the girls, who were rescued from being child labour and were mainstreamed in formal education, were seen missing from schools after the class 5th. Altogether 179 girls from Ahmedpur block were admitted in formal schools of which 105 girls were married before reaching the class 7th. It was noticed that most of them were married off. They were between the age group of 13 to 16 yrs. The truth revealed by the survey conducted in 30 villages selected under the project had 19% (2006) girl child marriages in 30 selected villages for the survey.
The Human Development Report -2002 (published by GoM) also pointed on this issue and the percentage of girl child marriages in Maharashtra was 39% where as in Latur district it was recorded to be 58.10% and in Beed district it was 59.40%.
The survey organized by SSA in 2001 recorded that 12280 children were out of schools of which 6409 were girl child. Further it was recorded that 1446 were boys & 1391 were girl child who belonged to Ahmedpur block of Latur district. Human Development report also records that the percentage of school dropouts between classes 7th to 10th amongst the girls is 35% & 59% respectively PIRD being committed to the betterment, development & progress of children picked up the issue of girls being married at a very tender age and a project on prevention of girl child marriages in 30 selected villages was envisaged which was supported by Maharashtra Foundation – NewYork, Maharashtra which was executed during 2006 to 2012.