Rescued and Empowered to Excel

Hailing from a backward community in Uttar Pradesh, Rita’s parents, struggling with a life of daily wage labor, decided to marry their daughter at the tender age of 14 to a 23-year-old auto driver named Raghu. One day after being engaged, when Raghu requested permission to take Rita out for a visit, her parents didn’t mind. However when she did not return home by evening, it led to her parents to panicking and reporting her missing.

The SSRF team, upon learning of Rita’s situation, conducted an extensive search alongside local police. They found Rita in a traumatized state.

They initiated legal action against Raghu who claimed to be a minor himself to keep severe penalties at bay, and insisted that Rita was an adult. The SSRF team used provisions in the Juvenile Justice Act to secure a 1.5-year jail term for Raghu. The team also requested proof of Raghu’s claimed minor status through the POCSO Act.

Rita’s parents, pressured to accept monetary compensation and close the case, were shielded by the SSRF team. Meanwhile, at home, Rita faced blame for the incident. The SSRF team provided continuous counseling to both Rita and her parents, encouraging her to pursue education and supporting her with books and coaching.

Despite numerous challenges, Rita is now focused on her studies, preparing for her 10th-grade board exams. The SSRF team continues to work with her family, her teachers & the community to ensure Rita not only receives justice but also triumphs over her challenges.

District Varanasi is highly critical in violation of child rights in the form of child marriage, child labor, child trafficking and gender discrimination. It has a clear link with the trafficking of girl children which impacts their health and reduces their chances of an education. All this affects their overall development

CRY America Project SSRF is working towards creating an enabling environment that empowers children to influence decision making on issues that affect them, creating informed, sensitized, empowered family members and community to stop child marriage, ensuring vigilant governance for child protection. The key activities taking place under the project are orientation meetings of children groups on child rights issues and developing their understanding, engagement with child protection structures in the district and in the entire state.


children regularly going to school


out of school children mainstreamed in school


children educated at digital learning centers


children enrolled in remedial education


children participated in life skills sessions


potential child marriage cases identified and prevented

● Begin the CRY Child Activity Center module in 8 remedial centers to help 413 children improve their learning levels.
● Parents’ module will be implemented with 80 parents in the community
● Life skills module of CRY will be taken to 5 primary schools in engagement with education department.
● Strengthen the roles and responsibilities of 9 School Management Committee members (SMC)
● Conduct 90 activity-based learning meetings with SMC members to address barriers to children’s education
● Ensure continued education of 2368 children and mainstream 79 out of school children
● Ensure continued education of 1089 school going children and school enrolment of 287 out of school children

2023 Grant Disbursed $39,641