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Saving Childhood: Supporting Child marriage prevention in India

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Canadian Deputy High Commissioner Jess Dutton and panel speakers at the Canada-India Seminar on preventing CEFM.

Deputy High Commissioner Dutton highlights Canada’s commitment to ending CEFM.

Lighting a candle for hope in the movement against CEFM.

Child, early and forced marriage (CEFM) deprives young girls of their potential, often by affecting their health and disrupting their education, forcing them to a life of poverty.

Canada believes that the protection and empowerment of women and girls is essential for peaceful, prosperous and stable societies. This is why Canada has made preventing CEFM a priority around the world.

As part of Canada’s commitment to end CEFM, the High Commission of Canada in India organized a seminar on CEFM prevention in association with the Indian non-governmental organization, Jagran Pehel, and the Patna Women’s College. The seminar took place in Bihar, a province in India, currently dealing with the issue.

Childhood not marriage

The High Commission’s seminar provided an important platform to help ensure that girls get the recognition they deserve as equal and powerful actors in society by raising awareness about the practice of CEFM.

The seminar’s panelists focused on mobilizing support towards ending CEFM by stressing, notably, the importance of empowering women economically as a means of shaping a more egalitarian society.

Notable speakers included Ms. Nisha Jha and Dr. Arun Verma from the Bihar Commission for Protection of Child Rights; Dr. N. Vijaya Lakshmi, from the Bihar Rural Livelihood Promotion Society; and Ms. Anjum Ara, from the Bihar State Women Commission.

Over 200 women & girls participated in the seminar.

In his panel address, Canadian Deputy High Commissioner Jess Dutton underscored the importance of global participation in the movement against CEFM.  He said, “although collaboration between governments can attract attention and allocate resources to an issue, I believe that the potential for achieving the goal of equality for all resides with individuals.

In an effort to end this practice, Canada is working is engaging with several government and non-government partners in India to strengthen efforts in dealing with the issue and to carving out a new and brighter future for girls and women. 

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