Case studies

Rupa’s Triumph: A Journey from Adversity to Advocacy with CINI in West Bengal

30 September, 2023
Written consent was received from all the persons portrayed in this story

At the tender age of 14, Rupa had already encountered a lifetime’s worth of challenges. She had endured early marriage, faced early pregnancy, dropped out of school, and grappled with the absence of familial protection. Her life stood at a crossroads, teetering on the precipice of adversity. But Rupa’s narrative underwent a remarkable transformation, thanks to the intervention of CINI.


Growing up, Rupa shouldered the burden of household chores and the care of her younger siblings in a home where neglect and overwork were her constant companions. In a courageous bid to escape an arranged marriage, she fled home and married the boy she loved.


However, her marital home did not usher in the expected bliss. Financial struggles loomed large, and her husband departed for work in Chennai, leaving Rupa at the mercy of her in-laws. She was confined to a dim, austere space with meagre food, all while carrying the weight of pregnancy. In this challenging period, our team in the village identified Rupa as high risk due to her early marriage and pregnancy, and her harrowing journey unfolded before us.


Our foremost priority was to create a haven for Rupa within her marital home. Through unwavering commitment, we embarked on consistent visits, heartfelt discussions, and empathetic counselling. Gradually, her in-laws began to accept her presence and provide the care she needed. Tragically, Rupa’s life took a devastating turn when her premature baby fell ill and, despite vaccinations, succumbed to the illness.


In the face of unimaginable grief, CINI’s team remained steadfast in their support for this resilient young girl. We initiated her re-enrollment in school, ensuring easy access and financial assistance while she attended regularly. Despite progress in rebuilding her life, the spectre of early pregnancy and discrimination within her family continued to loom. Recognizing the persistent threats to Rupa’s well-being, we maintained regular outreach and support, focusing on nutrition and health. Witnessing CINI’s unwavering dedication, Rupa embraced our guidance and emerged as a formidable advocate within her community.


Today, Rupa comprehends the perils of early marriage and teen pregnancy. She has made it her mission to educate her community and peers. With the invaluable support of CINI’s Suswasthya Project, Rupa and other married adolescents in Khoyrasole have united to form a group dedicated to being agents of change in their locality. Their goal was to eradicate child marriage and prevent teen pregnancy.


Rupa’s journey is an indomitable testament to resilience, empowerment, and the transformative impact of CINI’s tireless work. Through the Suswasthya Project, Rupa and her fellow adolescents have become beacons of change, working relentlessly to abolish child marriage and shield their community from the perils of teen pregnancy.