Child Marriage Prevention Fund
Kanya: String of Hope, Child Marriage Prevention Program
In the last three years, ten Happy Kids Center girls have been married by 16 or younger. Child marriage is a pervasive cultural practice in the community where Happy Kids Center operates. In Bihar, the ancestral home of the girls, more than 60% are married before the age of 18. Girls are eligible to be married after their first period. Many of the mothers our children were married before their 12th birthday.
For every year a family waits to marry their daughters, their dowery increases. A dowery is the money that a bride’s family is obligated to pay the groom’s family on there wedding day. The thinking is that the groom’s family is taking responsibility for the girl, were in reality, the girl, more often than not, ultimately acts as something of a slave or servant to the family until she bares children of her own.
Legally, the marriage of a girl before she turns 20 is criminal. However, for a bride of 18 years old, the cost of a dowery to a “good” husband can be thousands of dollars. This is next to impossible for a family that survives on collecting and selling recyclables.
Through Kanya: String of Hope we are teaching girls to make macramé style jewelry as a form of income generation and skill-building.
How it works:
50% of each bracelet will be paid to the girls at the end of each month.
25% of each bracelet sold will be put into an account which the girls will have access to if they are not married at the end of the year.
25% of each bracelet sold will be put into an account which the girls have access to when they turn 18 if they are not married.
So, where do your donation go?
The business model for Kanya: String of Hope is entirely self-sustaining. We are asking that you donate to our “matching fund.”
To further incentivize the families to wait to marry the girls until they are 18, and to help them afford the much higher dowery, we will be doubling the money earned toward their 18 Year Trust Fund at the end of every year.
If the girls continue at their current rate, with the help of our matching program, many will have saved enough to afford the heightened cost of a dowry by their 18th birthday.