Champa Kumari – Winner of Diana Award, 2019

Crusader against Child Marriage

Once a school dropout who collected Mica from mines situated in her village to support her family, Champa Kumari is today a role model for children of her village Jamdar, in Jharkhand.

In 2019, Champa, a resident of Giridih district of Jharkhand was conferred with Britain’s prestigious Diana Award at the young age of 13 for ending child marriage in her village. She was also felicitated by the governor of Jharkhand Smt. Droupadi Murmu.

For Champa’s family, her education was never a priority. In 2016, Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation introduced its flagship programme Bal Mitra Gram in Champa’s village with the aim to put an end to evil practices like child marriages, child labour, child trafficking and all forms of child exploitation, as well as ensuring 100% enrolment of children in school.

With the efforts of KSCF activists, Champa was withdrawn from work and enrolled in school. She soon became the Sarpanch (President) of Bal Panchayat (children’s council) in her village and also the Vice President of Rashtriya Bal Mitra Maha Panchayat (national level children’s council). Being a child who had been into mica mining, she understood how hazardous it was and decided to prevent children of her village from getting involved. Apart from being a mica hub, her village also practiced child marriage as a tradition but she wanted to put an end to this too.

The largest impact one could see is the reduction rate of child marriage in Jamdar village. Champa not only led the campaign against child marriage but also foiled two child marriage cases. Her anti-child marriage campaign reached over 9000 people in and around her village. The village of Champa is a changed one now and its ripples are spreading wider as time grows and she has emerged as the catalyst for change.

Being the Vice President of National Level Bal Panchayat, she presented the Children’s Charter of Demands along with co-members to the incumbent Minister of state for Labor and Employment Shri Santosh Gangwar. She also presented Children’s Manifesto to the British High Commissioner and Parliamentarians and had also shared the stage with the then Hon’ble Chief Minister of Jharkhand Shri Raghubar Das and Nobel Peace Laureate Shri Kailash Satyarthi for the cause of making mica supply chain child labour free in Koderma, a district in Jharkhand.