Published: 14th November 2017
The Marriage Breaker: This boy from Rajasthan has stopped 5 child marriages from happening and he's constantly on the watch
Shailendra has taken upon himself to protect children's rights and raise awareness and doesn't mind dedicating his whole life to it
If you happen to visit Bijalpur, a small village near Jaipur with a mere 59 houses, you will be able to hear the stories of a boy, who stopped a child marriage when he was just 13 years old. It has been five years and he is now identified as someone who keeps a vigil on the houses prepping for weddings.
Some hate him, some love him but certainly, no can help but adore this young champion who is fighting social evils that he witnessed growing up.
Born and brought up in a small village, Shailendra Singh (now 17) always hated the fact that societal norms never allowed children to grow up to their full potential. Thanks to a regional NGO backed by Save the Children, supported by Save the children, he was exposed to children's rights and there was no looking back since then. He took it upon himself to bring down the drop out rates in schools, and ensure that no one from his village was married before the legal age.
I gathered my elders, panchayat members, and the NGO employees and asked them to come with me to the venue. After that, the family had no choice but listen to a 13-year-old asking them not to get their daughter married
Shailendra Singh, Child Activist
He recalls the first time he stopped a wedding, "I was told to mind my own business and concentrate on my studies rather than pursuing activism. I don't blame them, I was just 13 at that time," he said. But he wasn't someone who would give up so easily.
"I gathered my elders, panchayat members, and the NGO employees and asked them to come with me to the venue. After that, the family had no choice but listen to a 13-year-old asking them not to get their daughter married," he narrates.
Shailendra believes that's where it all began and that is where he wants to be in life. "I want to fight till no kid id deprived of his childhood and right. I don't care if it takes my whole life to do it," he says and we believe him.