Ramya hails from a poverty-stricken family from a village in North Karnataka. After her puberty, she was married at the age of fifteen. This destroyed all her ambitions of being educated.

Ramya was married to a divorcee who had abused his wife previously.It had not taken many days after the marriage for Ramya to undergo drudgery and exploitation. She was harassed by everyone from her husband’s home. Her husband did not take care of her personal needs and physically abused her. At fifteen years, she lost all hope in life.

It was in the month of April 2018, that the Initiative for Married Adolescent Girls Empowerment Programme (IMAGE) was introduced to Ramya. A joint initiative by Terre des Hommes and SEVAK, the programme empowers early married girls in health, education and social protection. Initially Ramya was hesitant to open up to the field officers, but gradually was convinced through the perseverance of the field worker.

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Soon Ramya had someone to share all her problems with and life became lighter. She realised that by enrolling in vocational training she could earn money and support herself. When Ramya’s husband was not willing to pay for her skill training, the project paid 38 euros for her tailoring course. Now, she undergoes the training with much zeal and enthusiasm.It has also opened opportunities for her to meet other girls in the village. Slowly, after
counselling and awareness, her husband and in-laws are also supporting her.

Ramya’s grief and agony has turned into happiness and joy. With gratitude she says to the IMAGE programme – “I was disgusted and in loss of hope as my own people let me down in life. But you, who are not related to me in any manner, became a ray of hope in my life. Because of you, today I can come out of my house. I learn tailoring skills because you paid for it. I could associate myself with my people in the village because IMAGE became reason for it”.

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