In the Picture : Farida Khatun, at the UNFPA Conference on Child Marriage in Delhi [2nd from left in pic 1].She presented excellently her story in the conference. Ms. Roshni Sen, IAS, Secretary, Women and Child Development Department, West Bengal was in the same panel [4th from the left in pic 1] and appreciated a lot.
Farida, a 17 years old girl living in a slum in Kolkata slum has had a tough childhood. At the age of seven years, she lost her father, the only earning member of her family. She has 2 sisters and 1 brother. Her elder sister got married and their family survives in a very difficult environment. Her mother works as a housemaid in several houses and earn their living. She has studied till class 8 in V.S Johori Vidyalaya and is continuing now her studies from open schools. Farida constantly motivates her sister and brother to continue studies as she understands the value of education.She said it is only through education that she understood the rights which she can avail, but not getting it. She fights for her own rights and others in her neighborhood now.
In 2012, when the SABLA programme first came into existence, the anganwadi worker went to her home so that she can enroll herself in this program. She was instantly interested to join the program. She learned a lot of things in those sessions through life skill education, case studies and other events.
She came to know about child marriage and its consequences, child labor and how it is affecting the lives of the children in her society. She has completed 3 years in the SABLA program now and is elected as a member in the child parliament.
She is doing an excellent job for her society and her neighbors and her mother is very proud about the fact that she and her child parliament friends stopped one child marriage in the neighborhood by calling the Childline toll free number 1098. She has organized a rally against the child marriage in her society. She also counsels married adolescents on sexual reproductive health issues and the consequences of early pregnancy.
She is also doing an excellent job in the field of education. She has organized a survey with her child parliament friends to know and understand the level of education in her neighborhood. She came to know about the drop out children and took them to the nearest primary school to get them admitted. Farida and her friends have become quite a public figure in her society and people come for help and assistance whenever needed and she is always happy to help. She is motivating girls to be enrolled in school and to get facilities of Kanyashree.
She believes that she, together with her friends can change the WORLD!!!