Girls Score a Goal to End Child Marriage in India

by Alys Matthews, with reporting by Rashmi Kulkarni / Member Spotlight

Soccer is widely regarded as an excellent way for kids to stay physically fit, build social skills and develop self-confidence. In several small Indian communities where ChildFund works, the world’s most popular sport has another, more surprising benefit: empowering girls to resist early marriage.

Meet 16-year-old Raniya. Her home state of Jharkhand, India, is rich in natural resources, known for its waterfalls and ornate Jain temples, but nearly 40 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. Here, the rate at which girls marry before age 18 — which hovers around 47 percent nationwide — jumps to 51.8 percent.

With Childfund, Neelam Makhijani Aims to Create a Better Tomorrow for Children

by Rekha Balakrishnan / Member Spotlight

As CEO and Director of ChildFund India, Neelam Makhijani is working to give excluded and vulnerable children the capacity to improve their lives and become adults who bring positive change in their communities.

As a journalist in New York, Neelam Makhijani worked for a leading Asian weekly, where she wrote and commented on South Asian political issues. Her job connected her to many humanitarian initiatives and she decided to take her job on-ground and “be the change she wished to see”.