Terre des Hommes was represented by Mr. Ponpandi Thangaperumal (Thangam), Country Manager of India. The conference theme was Investing in Children: Every Child Counts with a particular focus on the importance of preventing and managing child abuse and neglect, in the context of providing children with a healthy and happy childhood.
Terre des Hommes was invited to give a presentation on community based interventions in addressing child marriage in India. Mr. Thangam explains: “In our presentation we were able to show how we actually prevent child marriage on the ground. We were able to bring field experience to the discussion. We have a number of strategies that, when you combine them, are extremely effective. We empower girls, mobilise communities, and influence key decision makers. Of course this sounds a lot easier than it is in practice, but with life skill education, keeping girls in school and the use of a child helpline we have been able to significantly reduce the number of child marriages in our working areas. We have set up Village Child Protection Committees, spend a lot of time on awareness raising and we keep coordinating with our target communities. All in all we have been able to prevent a high number of child marriages, creating a much more promising life for these girls. Along the way, we also had to influence men and boys, religious and traditional leaders, as they play a crucial role in preventing child marriages.”