Gowri, 17 years is the second daughter of four children, three daughters and one boy of her widowed mother. Gowri's brother was born from the second marriage, and being a boy her mother had preferential care towards her brother than the girls. This even lead her mother to stop Gowri's older sister from school when she was in her 9th standard (13 years) and sent for work. Her sister’s earning supported the family which was not sufficient. There were also pressures on Gowri to work for additional income.
But with support from Buds of Christ, she was encouraged to continue her education. One year before her sister (23 years) was married off, and the pressure came again on Gowri to get married who was doing her 12th to discontinue her studies. But with timely intervention from Buds of Christ she has been able to continue her school studies.
Now that she has completed her 12th grade, her mother wanted her married, as the marriage proposals were coming with a bride price. But Gowri's interest is to become a teacher. When she expressed her interest and her firmness in going against her mother's plan, there was no support in her family. Even her older sister's family were forcing her for marriage. But in the midst of all these challenges she has been firm and approached Buds of Christ for meeting the educational needs under the Buds Graduation Scholarship Support.
She has even applied for government managed hostel for stay as she feels there would be pressure for marriage again from the family. Gowri boldly says today that the challenges that she face is actually making her stronger and assertive.
There are many young girls like Gowri, who have no free choices to enter college. Often the girls are pressurised for early marriages with older men or sent for work. We realised unless education support is provided till their graduation and followed up actively, girls like Gowri are not able to continue their studies and are vulnerable to the trap of child marriage and poverty.