Arranged Marriages


Arranged marriages are common in India and more natural amongst the lower class in rural India where Project Mala works.  The system works very well but sometimes it can have a serious effect on the education opportunities, particularly for girls.  Mukesh, our Headmaster, is frequently involved in these problems as it can affect the children's ability to continue their education. 


Neetu with her mother

Neetu, a girl in grade 11, came to Mukesh and told him that her parents were insisting she should marry, but she wanted to continue her education.  Mukesh encouraged her to be strong in her wishes and eventually her parents respected her feelings, but they did marry off her younger sister, Pooja, who studied up to grade 8 in Project Mala but did not make it to secondary school and passed out in 2012.


Saroja, a student studying in class 11, is going to marry in June but still hopes to continue her education as a married woman.  Picture shows Saroja (second girl from right) and also Anne Bate, our Teaching Advisor, who was visiting the school.


Recently Pradeep, one of our brightest boys and "head of house" at Guria School and now in class 11 at a village school, came to Mukesh and told him that a marriage was being arranged for him and he did not want to marry at this stage.
Pradeep and his wife at their wedding
 Pradeep's father died some time ago, so his mother was being guided by a family friend.  Pradeep asked if Mukesh would have a word with the man who was arranging this.  Mukesh managed to speak to the man on the telephone but was not able to change the arrangements.  The marriage took place on the 25 May.  To avoid this happening again, we have made a rule that no child can marry until they have completed their education with us.

Whilst these stories might make you think that the parents don't care about their daughters, this is not true, as some parents feel that being married offers some protection for girls.  Also, things are changing, as Anil, our Administrative Officer, pointed out, when he started work with Project Mala 10 years ago, there were a lot of children in our primary schools that were married, yet today there are no married children up to grade 10.  



Robin Garland


Project Mala

01904 786880 

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