In April last year, Sandhya from Hyderabad’s Ranga Reddy district was going to be married off while she was in the middle of her class 10 exams. She was just 16 then, clueless and scared for what was going to happen next.
Her father, however, thought it was the best thing for her. On her complaint, A team went with child rights activists and saved her from becoming a child bride. An year later, she has topped class 11 exams in her college with 93 per cent and cannot contain her joy.
“I had hoped for even better marks. I will go for a re-exam,” a confident Sandhya tells.
Just a fortnight after the illegal marriage was stopped, Sandhya’s father, who was an alcoholic, had died. Neighbours also say that sarcastic comments made about her daughter’s future had bothered him. Sandhya says that if her father was alive, he would have been extremely proud of her.
“Today, the entire village is talking about her, we are so proud and happy. He would have been so thrilled,” Sandhya’s mother Suryakala says while wiping off a tear.
Sandhya’s future plans are set. She says she wants to become a teacher and “help other girls like herself realise their dreams”. She credits her teachers for bolstering her confidence and advising her to take a step against her early marriage.
After her father’s death, the responsibilities of the house fell on her mother, who irons clothes. After Team’s rescue operation, Sandhya got some support and she was able to continue her education.
Child rights activist Achyuta Rao who Sandhya had approached, says that girls like her need moral, social and financial support.
“With help and encouragement, so many Sandhyas can realise their potential, instead of getting caught in the cycle of early marriage, child birth, family and financial problems, ” said Mr Rao.
Sandhya’s mother says that she wants her to study further, adding, “I got married early. I will not let my daughter go through the same problems. She will become an inspiration for others.”