Kumar, Nagarjuna and Krishnamoorthy are caring husbands. Hailing from a village in South Karnataka, they are pillar of support to their wives and encourage them in every way possible. But this was not the case before.
Married in their early twenties, these men have wives who are now below the age of eighteen. “Earlier, we never sent our wives outside the house.”, says twenty-eight-year-old Kumar. “We took care only of ourselves.”
What changed was that these three men became members of a Spouse Club in their village. A Spouse Club is an initiative by the organisation PMSR as part of the Initiative for Married Adolescent Girls Empowerment (IMAGE) programme supported by Terre des Hommes.
A Spouse Club is a gathering of husbands of early married girls. Through these clubs, they are given training on health, education and child care, areas where their wives require their support. They discuss issues concerning the well-being of their wives and children, and develop solutions together in case of any problems. The club in the village has twelve members and meets once a month.
“Before the club, our focus was only on us. Now, we want to take care of our wives. We realize that their education and health is important.”, says twenty-six-year-old Nagarjuna. “We did not know that girls should not get married before eighteen. Now after the club, we are aware.”, says
Krishnamoorthy. “Apart from health and education, we also realize the importance of training our wives in skills like computer and tailoring. Along with men, women should also develop so that the family does well. My wife should learn a lot of skills and contribute to the family. Women should be equal to men in everything they do.”, he adds.