President Pratibha Patil hosted the 21 children who have been chosen for the Bravery Awards 2009 at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Tuesday. The children are currently in the national capital as part of the celebrations of the 61st Republic Day on January 26.
The awardees included Rekha Kalindi, Sunita Mahato and Afsana Khatun of West Bengal who displayed outstanding courage in standing up against the social evil of child marriage and set an example in their community. These girls had earlier been called to Rashtrapati Bhavan by the President to felicitate them for their courage.
Acknowledging the brave step taken by the girls, the President had commended them for having a positive effect on their communities and leading to more girls resisting child marriage.
A child marriage, according to the Presiden,t destroys at least 10 other lives, as the young child soon becomes a mother, and then becomes victim of failing health due to numerous childbirths, which ultimately, affects the health of her children. This then goes to continue the cycle of poverty from which a family can never recover, said a Rashtrapati Bhavan official.
The award winners included Master Gaurav Singh Saini of Haryana, who received the Bharat Award, Baby Maibam Prity Devi of Manipur, who received the Geeta Chopra Award and Master Karan Nishad of Uttar Pradesh, who received the Sanjay Chopra Award. The 21 award winners, two of them posthumous, are from the States of Haryana, Manipur, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Gujarat, Goa, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Rajasthan and West Bengal.