Rekha Sapkal makes her living in Pune, India, the same way her mother did: picking through garbage, and selling scrap and recyclables. It’s dirty, difficult, sometimes dangerous work–and it’s been Rekha’s only option. She didn’t get to go to school. By age 12, she was married. By age 13, she’d given birth to her first daughter. Rekha had to support her family, and waste picking was the only work she could get.
But with support from Kashtakari Panchayat, an AJWS grantee that fights for the rights of wastepickers, Rekha and her colleagues have demanded greater respect for the critical work they do for their cities–and ensured that their daughters can pursue the education and opportunities that generations of lower-caste women have been denied.
To learn more, visit our Ending Child Marriage section to see videos, photo slideshows, stories and original research related to AJWS’s work on child marriage in India.
Director: Jonathan Torgovnik. Editor: Andrew Hida. Producer: Elizabeth Daube. Production Assistant: Jyotika Jain.