Note: photo changed to protect this child.
On February 13th, friends of 16-year-old Shoba (not her real name) notified Don Bosco Childline that the young girl was about to be forced into marriage. Our social workers only had one week to intervene before it would be too late.
Child marriages are a crisis in many parts of the world where girls are considered second class citizens. Here, families will arrange marriages for their young daughters as a way to make money and alleviate the burden of caring for them.
The men involved are typically much older and will subject their young wives to a lifetime of physical and emotional abuse. In one single day, upon marriage, the promising future of a girl like Shoba can be shattered forever.
Although child marriages are illegal in Shoba’s home country of India, they still occur far too often. That’s why the social workers at Don Bosco Childline knew it would take a small miracle to save her.
They immediately contacted the District Child Protection Unit, Police Department and Child Welfare Committee. Then they met with Shoba’s family.
Her parents confronted the Salesian workers with screaming threats for interfering. But after a long argument, they finally signed an agreement that Shoba would not be married. Just to make sure, the Salesians visited her home on the day of the proposed marriage.
The Salesian team braved all odds to ensure that Shoba was back in school with her friends, attending classes and building a bright future for herself.
Caring friends like you make programs like the Don Bosco Childline possible. When a child’s life or wellbeing is threatened, there’s a place to turn for help. Thank you for whatever you can give today to ensure that our missionaries, social workers and volunteers can continue to respond when called.