Almost half of girls in India marry before age 18. Many child brides rarely go to school still. They live in poverty, often abused by their husbands. Our IMAGE (Initiative for married adolescent girls’ empowerment) programme makes these girls stronger. We help them stand up for themselves. We offer them a place for professional skills training. We educate their communities to better protect them. Join our fight.
In large parts of India, it is a custom for girls to marry young: almost half marry before age 18. The root cause of child marriages lies in societal attitudes - these are prevailing beliefs supported and influenced by governments, cultural traditions, or historical background. In India, a family’s sense of ‘honour’ is often intimately tied to the perceived ‘purity’ of their daughters and brides. Therefore, early marriage is seen as a pre-emptive measure against premarital sex and potential shame to their families.
Marrying young has enormous disadvantages. The girls have children early and rarely still go to school. Many cannot do arithmetic or write. This keeps them from earning incomes. They continue to live in poverty and must completely depend on spouses. Abuse within child marriages is common.
Girls from broken child marriages often end up on the street. They are highly vulnerable to sexual exploitation. We take a stand against child marriage and child exploitation. Join our fight.
Our IMAGE programme helps married girls in India so they can build a better future. It focuses on:
Our IMAGE programme name is an acronym standing for the Initiative for Married Adolescent Girls' Empowerment. Started in India, IMAGE aims to empower married girls, giving them a say. That way they can stand up and better care for themselves.
IMAGE helps girls defend their rights. Through meetings, we do awareness-raising about health, nutrition and how to better care for their own children.
We provide girls a safe place. We provide therapy and medical help as needed. We provide training so they can learn skills for jobs that pay better. This way they become less dependent and improve circumstances for themselves and their families.
We also help their spouses, families and communities better respect the girls’ rights and promote their safety and care. We motivate religious leaders to support the girls in their development and abolish child marriages.
We appeal to governments’ legal responsibility to better protect these girls. Our political actions aim to make 18 the minimum marriage age. We take a stand against the damaging effects of young marriages and the exploitation of children as brides. Join our fight.
Our IMAGE programme seeks to empower girls who have married young. We help them play bigger roles in their communities, to be seen more. Yet, we also ensure they stay safe and are no longer vulnerable to exploitation. We campaign for the abolishment of child marriages.
In a safe place, the girls can work to better their circumstances. They learn about their health and their rights. They learn professional skills to put towards finding jobs that pay better and becoming more independent.
IMAGE encourages spouses, families and fellow villagers to help the girls build a better life. They learn about children's rights and participate in programmes to help increase their incomes and thus reduce poverty.
IMAGE makes administrators, leaders and governments aware of the girls’ rights and how they should protect them. They are asked to recognise that marrying young often has damaging effects. And they are urged to abolish child marriages, setting the minimum marriage age at 18.
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