Payal represents children who fight for children’s rights, especially for girls’ right to education and against child labour and child marriage.
Payal lives in a poor village in Rajasthan, a part of India where many people live in poverty and girls are often forced into child marriage. But Payal is the leader of the Child Parliament in her village, and fights for change. When she talks, adults and children alike listen.
“I was proud when I found out that so many people had voted for me,” says Payal. “I want to fight for all children, especially girls. Here in Rajasthan, lots of girls are forced to work hard and get married when they are only twelve. I don’t like child marriage. We visit children at home and explain to their parents why school is important. I want to be a teacher. We also tell fathers not to hit their children or wives. If they are loving instead, things are better for everyone.”
Along with the adult leaders of the village, she and other children are working to make their village ‘child-friendly’. "A good leader is honest and solves problems instead of complaining. We visit children at home and explain to their parents why school is important. We also tell fathers not to beat their children or wives. If they behave in a loving way life is better for everyone,” says Payal, who dreams of becoming a teacher in her own village.
The leader of the adult parliament in the village often asks Payal and her friends for advice. “The adults listen to us and help us,” she says.