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Who Are We

Stemming from an idea developed by various civil society organisations during a national consultation in July 2022, the Child Marriage Free India (CMFI) campaign began on October 16th, 2022. On this day, over 76,000 brave women ignited torches and marched through the streets in 7,600 villages across India sparking a new beginning. Nobel Peace Laureates Leymah Gbowee and Kailash Satyarthi joined these women leaders, child leaders, and prominent civil society figures, to support this movement against child marriage.

Soon, the Child Marriage Free India campaign became a revolution and spread like wildfire in the country. Youth and women took the message of ending child marriage from Khardung La, in the Leh district of the Indian union territory of Ladakh, to Kanyakumari, the southern tip of India. 

Today, CMFI has become the largest nationwide movement against child marriage in the country, running as a program in 265 districts. During October 2023, the action month of CMFI, 53 notifications were issued by different Government agencies for public participation in support of the program.

What We Are Seeking To Address

Child marriage has a far-reaching impact on society, not only does it affect the life of the girl who is married at an early age, but also disrupts the growth and development of future generations, creating a vicious cycle leading to the creation of an unhealthy community. Child Marriage is a flagrant violation of all child and human rights. It is an impending child rape. The most prominent complications of child marriage include disruption in girl’s education, domestic violence (29.3%), forceful early pregnancies (6.8%) that lead to increased rates of female mortality, neonatal (24.9%) and post-natal mortality (41.9%), nutritional deficiencies among both mother (18.7%) and infant (35.2%) and other mental health issues (NFHS 5). 


Child marriage is a crime in India. However, multiple communities and sects continue this malpractice due to the larger perception that personal laws supersede Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 (PCMA).

Our Demands


Ensure access to free and quality education for all children till class 12 (or 18 years of age, whichever is later)


Dedicated budgetary allocation for schemes and infrastructure for education and vocational training till class 12


Enable real-time attendance data analysis and intervention when irregularities occur


Effective implementation and enforcement of laws against child marriage for all sections of society

When And What We Are Trying to Achieve

CMFI is working to attain the tipping point to end child marriage, after which the society will  not accept this evil practice and that will happen when the prevalence of child marriage is brought down to 5.5% by 2030, from the current national prevalence rate of 23.3%. This is being done by initially targeting high-prevalence districts and gradually focusing on all the districts of the country.


Noted child rights activist, author, Supreme Court lawyer and founder of CMFI campaign, Bhuwan Ribhu has authored a ‘When Children Have Children: Tipping Point to End Child Marriage’ and put forth a framework to make India child marriage free by 2030. This book shows the path to eliminating child marriage in India within the next decade.


As suggested by the author in the book, by adopting a systematic, highly focused, and intensive intervention model, over a phased timeline it is possible to reduce the national child marriage prevalence levels to 5.5% —the threshold, the tipping point, beyond which the prevalence is anticipated to diminish organically with reduced reliance on targeted interventions.

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How Are We Doing It

Through 161 NGO partners, CMFI is currently working in 265 districts with a high prevalence of child marriage, targeting awareness generation through sensitisation and legal action to stop child marriage in 31,150 villages.

The campaign prevents child marriage at the community level through awareness and empowerment programs, and by directly stopping planned child marriages. At state and national levels, it advocates for stronger institutions, better infrastructure, free education up to grade 12 or age 18, increased social protection, and robust enforcement of existing laws.

CMFI adopts a multi-pronged approach to systematically reduce the prevalence of child marriage in the country called the PICKET strategy.

PICKET Strategy Encompasses

Policy for prevention, protection, prosecution

Investment in infrastructure, incentivisation and institutions

Convergence of departments, governments and stakeholders in the community

Knowledge which equips all the stakeholders to combat child marriage

Ecosystem where child marriage does not thrive

Technology for monitoring and deterrence to combat child marriage

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