Two Chennai and Coimbatore-based trusts help pay the fees
Child bride S. Jeyaprabha of Nondi Kovilpatti in Melur Taluk near here, who was married off at 14 and left her alcoholic husband when she turned 16, has moved a step closer to achieving her life goals. Jeyaprabha, now 19, has been admitted to the Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) course at the Government Dental College, a wing of the Madras Medical College.
Though she has not managed to qualify for an MBBS course and her ambition to be a doctor has been thwarted, the girl is upbeat. "I am happy to have gained admission to the BDS course. After BDS, I will pursue MDS and then begin teaching thousands of youngsters like me," she says, sporting a smile that belies the ordeal she has had to undergo as a child bride.
Bowing to tradition, Jeyaprabha had married her maternal uncle shortly after completing Class VIII. Barely a year later, she ended up having to nurse her husband who suffered a fall while visiting the Courtallam waterfalls. The marriage soured and she returned to her parents.
She sat the Class X examinations as a private candidate and scored 469 out of 500 marks.
Encouraged by her performance, the girl’s parents admitted her to the Government Girls Higher Secondary School at Melur where she scored 1,136 out of 1,200 marks in the Class XII examinations held early this year.
The Hindu reported her struggle and achievements (‘From child bride to school topper’) on May 11, which drew a flood of offers of support.
Thanking all those who offered to help her, the girl says two trusts – one based in Coimbatore and another in Chennai – had helped her pay the admission fee of Rs.15,000, hostel advance of Rs.10,000 and monthly hostel fees of Rs.3,000 for the BDS course.
Putting her painful past behind her, Jeyaprabha says: “Many people tell me that child marriage is illegal and it is not a marriage at all in the eyes of law. Therefore, I need not seek divorce.”