“I ran away from home dressed as a bride, during a toilet break,”- Sapna, a Child Bride’s Ordeal in Hunger Struck Sunderbans

Sapna at the tender age of eight lost her mother who was fishing, to a tiger attack. Since then she was treated as a burden by her father and stepmother. Soon child marriage was the best way to get rid of her at the age of thirteen. That evening with the help of a classmate Sapna boarded a local bus clad in burkha, dressed as a bride underneath. 

“We went to the loo on paddy fields, that is where my friend met me and handed me the burka. It was dark, so I ran to the main road and boarded an all-night bus, and got down at Basanti P.S at the break of dawn. It has been a year now, I am living in the ashram, studying and learning stitching work.” said Sapna who is just 14.

PayBito Found Child Marriage a Social Evil Too Dire to Ignore

PayBito came across several children like Sapna in a local ashram for abandoned girls, during their “Brokering World Hunger Campaign” in the remote areas of Sundarbans. Their heart-breaking stories have been the focus of PayBito’s social campaigns in the Sundarban area. Children have to go through grave socio-natural difficulties that have its root in the rudimentary hunger crisis in this territory. 

Initially, PayBito concentrated on food crisis issues in the Sundarbans. However entangled affairs like basic hygiene, child marriage, and school dropouts could not be left out to tackle the root of the crisis. Feeding souls alongside stomachs becomes equally pivotal for survival in the great delta region. Child marriage survivors are mentally and physically drained children in need of instant aid.

Child Marriage in the Sundarbans is the Dowry Story Reversed

“I used to have a single meal a day, even though it was difficult for my father to arrange with very little income from fishing. When my third sibling was born during the pandemic days and a flood drowned my village, instant cash was needed. A family in Delhi was looking for a bride and a panchayat worker connected them to my father. They paid a heavy sum to my father, and I was sold. That’s when I planned to escape.” according to Sapna.

Unlike the common dowry concept popular in India, where the bride’s family pays a hefty sum to the groom’s family, trafficking darkness looms over the child brides of Sunderbans.

Here, it is the other way around where child brides are bought and taken to other states, even abroad. Often, they are not genuine marriages and are flesh trade in disguise. Many times the girls married off are later rescued from brothels, sometimes affected by STDs, or with children. 

The hunger crisis is so grotesque in these areas, children are taken out of schools as soon as the mid-day meals stop. Boys are sent off as labourers or vocationally trained to earn for the family. While girls are mostly married off to reduce financial load. Against dowry, they are sent off to horrific living conditions bringing relief to the family.

An Underage mother who lost her baby

“I ran away from home dressed as a bride, during a toilet break,”- Sapna, a Child Bride’s Ordeal in Hunger Struck Sunderbans

“It was last summer when I arrived at the Gosaba hospital with my one-month-old, her temperature was not going down. My husband had driven me out of the house with her after the flood water receded.”, it was not long before the little being Rita was holding on to with her life stopped breathing. It was too much to bear for the mere 15-year-old grieving mother. Currently, Rita is living in the ashram. Child bride Rita and her baby girl were the first burdens shed by her hunger-stricken family. She was married at the age of 14.

PayBito during its “Brokering World Hunger Campaign”  came across these brave survivors and provided them with nutritious food. Analysing the gravity of the situation, the campaign is also extending its work in the field of education and health care so scarce in this part of India. Child marriage, of all the obstacles on this path, is the biggest one. It is the obstinacy of the people to get their girl child married for money, that poses the largest challenge to PayBito.Over education, over health care, amidst a rowdy nature and lack of money, the girl child is sacrificed first.

Throwing Light on the Root of Child Marriage

“I ran away from home dressed as a bride, during a toilet break,”- Sapna, a Child Bride’s Ordeal in Hunger Struck Sunderbans

PayBito through its campaigns in the rural outskirts of India has understood hunger is the root of social evils like child marriage, neonatal death, and deplorable healthcare conditions. If basic access to a stable diet is met, people will be able to make room for healthcare, education, and other professions. Agriculture, honey collection, and fishing are the only paths to earning. All of these expose people to wild animal attacks and natural catastrophes.

PayBito is encouraging institutional investors and brokers to start their business ventures with facilities of quick exchange with access to 400+ crypto markets, 20+ fiat currencies, and numerous assets. As much commission, a broker earns through the platform PayBito vouches to spend on food for children. PayBito is hoping that through these small but firm steps, children will not fall prey to child marriage, teen pregnancies, and trafficking. Child marriage scars girls like Rita and Sapna for life. While your kid is preparing for board examinations, little girls of the same age are running away from marriages, grieving over a dead newborn. PayBito is trying to uncover these ground realities to ensure food, warmth, and safety for every child around the world.