Srijan Mahila Vikas Manch (SMVM) aims to create a just society by safeguarding the rights of women and girls and fighting against gender-based violence. A core part of the organization’s mission is working to end early and forced child marriages. SMVM engages many communities— including indigenous people, religious minorities, and people with disabilities—to work towards building an inclusive society using a range of different community-led initiatives. SMVM has implemented several projects to-date, including a scholarship program which has supported 150 girls from at-risk-families by providing educational kits and scholarships. SMVM has delivered classes to over 100 girls focused on digital literacy and has worked with teachers to provide academic support to 1,200 girls across eleven government schools. Additionally, SMVM also provides referral services to girls escaping child marriages and domestic and sexual abuse, helping them find temporary shelter and support.
Harmful cultural norms, gender stereotypes, and prejudices against women and girls perpetuate gender inequalities in Jharkhand, India, where SMVM operates. Girls are often forced to leave school early and enter the labor force in industries like Mica mining and domestic services, and many are also forced into prostitution. Girls in these situations are highly vulnerable to gender-based violence and early marriage. Many face sexual, physical, and psychological abuse from their partners or employers, but they are limited in exit options due to a lack of financial independence. SMVM aims to address these problems through a project focused on ending child marriage.
SMVM will employ a gender transformative approach which promotes girls’ leadership and challenges social stereotypes about girls’ capabilities and roles within society. The organization will establish Community Learning Centers (CLCs) which support re-entry for girls who have dropped out of school. SMVM will build an educational curriculum which focuses on girls’ leadership and teaching girls about their reproductive health and rights. SMVM will use interactive activities like theater performances and sports to actively engage girls in these lessons. In addition to education programming, SMVM will provide girls at risk of child marriage with funding support to pay for school fees. SMVM will also build a mentorship program by recruiting “gender champions,” girls across communities who will work together to share the importance of gender equality within their communities.
SMVM believes in a long-term vision where girls are inspired to learn beyond primary school and into secondary schools and universities. Through these efforts, SMVM aims to create a social environment that rejects child marriage and opposes violence against girls and women. SMVM’s initiatives will teach girls to use their power to speak up against gender discrimination within their families and communities, challenging gender stereotypes and beliefs about what girls are capable of accomplishing.