SALEM AUG 14
Against the backdrop of increasing child marriages in Tamilnadu and in particular, the districts in Salem region, “IppadiyeVidungalen (Leave me as I am)”, a short film was released today at Jayarani Higher Secondary School.
“The film provides insights to parents, children, public, officials and non-government actors on the need to let the child be a child and what to do when the child is found trapped in a marriage,” said Fr. Dr. U.Santhanam, Director, Salem Don Anbu Illam.
The film opens with a school going girl’s happy child hood and how it is threatened when on the last day of the accademic year, she is confronted with a wedding proposal by her family. The propsed bridegroom is 38 year old and the parents justify it with the need to maintain family ties. Shocked and confused, the girl is gripped by an unfamiliar fear and dilemma. She considers several options to get out of the marriage including suicide.
The film cuts to discussions, interviews and talks by experts in child protection system, such as the District Social Welfare Officer (who is also the District Child Marriage Prevention Officer), the officials, staff at the Child Line helpline, the Districts Child Protection Officer, the Director of Salem Don Bosco Anbu Illam etc. The causes and consequences of early marriage for girls are explained. The legalities and the steps involved in helping a girl child get out of a trapped marriage situation are clearly highlighted. “This part of the docudrama is expected to help those found in situations of providing help to the victims,” said Fr. Dr.U.Santhanam. A touching recollection of the mother of a child marriage victim who died during early preganancy adds immediacy to the subject.
From the documentary part, the film cuts back to the girl with her friends who suggest that she try contacting Childline helpline to stop her marriage. She dials Child Line No. 1098 and conveys her situation to the help line staff. The system activates and finally we see the girl being freed from the marriage through appropriate steps. The film ends on a happy note with the victim back to studies and tells her mother that she may find her a husband after she becomes a graduate. The mother who undergoes a change of mindset wishes that her gets married after becoming a collector.
Produced by Salem Don Bosco Anbu Illam, the 20 minute short film was made by Trichy based Alaigal Media (The Media Centre of Don Bosco institutions). DB YaR Forum, Child Friendly Salem initiative, Jayarani Matriculation Higher Secondary School and Jayarani Higher Secondary School were the coloborators in the effort. IppadiyeVidungalen will be screened to the public, students in educations institutions and in social forums to create awareness on stopping child marriages.
(Centre for Community Media)