Phulbani: 22-year-old Jhulima Mallick brought laurels for the State when she was awarded with the prestigious Unicef-sponsored V Award at the UN House in New Delhi. She was awarded for relentlessly working to end child marriage and for promoting education among girls in her area.
Hailing from Bandudi village under Khajuripada block of Kandhamal district, she was the only from Odisha among the 10 selected from all over the nation. She was presented the award by Minister of State of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju on the occasion of International Volunteers Day on December 6.
Belonging to Kanda tribe, Jhulima was dropped out of school in Class X owing to financial constraints. Her family had also planned of marrying her off. Taking a stand she stopped her own marriage and decided to fight against this social burden. Later, she joined an NGO as volunteer and started ‘’Save The Children’ campaign which led adolescent girls of her village to fight against child marriage. So far, she and other girls of her community have helped stop around 12 child marriages in the area.
Following her passion, she re-enrolled herself in school and continued with her education. She also persuaded other girls from her area to continue with their schooling and college. Now, she is acting president of block-level adolescent girl group.
Even though her area is known to be a high malaria zone, she with other girls created awareness regarding Malaria and other vector-borne diseases.
Jhulima placed her experience on Child right protection and works on Child marriage prevention at various state and district level platforms. She admitted that the award is an encouragement for her to keep working towards the prevention of child marriage and promotion of girl child education.