14 Dec 2013

No Marriage Now

Narrated by Uma Singh, YRC Nabadisha, Lake Gardens, Kolkata. Recorded by Revathi, December, 2013.

Tina (left) with her friend
Tina lives in Gobindapur slum of Kolkata. Her father is a daily labourer and mother works as a domestic help. Tina has an elder brother. Her family shares a very small shanty with another family and live with very basic facilities. Tina’s mother is the bread earner of the family and is often overworked and stressed. Tina was often shouted at for little things.

Tina was 15 then and was in a relationship with a boy. She was a regular at the YRC support group meetings. She would share with the Peer Counsellor her status at home. She would, after every meeting, sit with the Peer Counselor to ask for suggestions on handling situations in her relationship. Tina’s partner was forcing her to marry with the promise of letting her continue with her studies. On the other hand her parents were against the relationship and restricting her movements.

During this time at the YRC, sessions on Child Marriage were being held. Tina remembers that at the session Peer Counsellor Punam would share the No Marriage Now booklet and they would hold discussions on marriage and about girls and boys being independent before they choose to marry. The adolescents had even taken an oath not to marry early and also motivate others to do the same.

After several sessions one day Tina shared with YRC members Punam and Uma that she was thinking of running away with her partner. At every session this thought would bother her and she was no longer able to keep it to herself and had to talk about it. Punam and Uma encouraged Tina to continue to attend the meetings and this would help her think more and in taking her own decisions. They would keep time to talk to Tina after every session. Tina’s board exams were around the corner.

Tina completed the sessions on child marriage and continued to attend the reproductive health trainings at the YRC. She convinced her partner that if theirs was a true relationship they could wait until she is a graduate and standing on her own feet.

After her board exams Tina moved on to Higher Secondary school, and was not be able to attend all the sessions at the YRC, but as a peer leader would motivate her peers to attend the support group sessions. Tina takes extra responsibility during the YRC camps, community events and even counsels her peers. She is keen to take up a Fellowship or any training and become a core group member of the Nabadisha YRC and become like Uma and Punam.

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