Lily Behera - More than a bride: an independent young woman

Story: Lily Behera (19 years old), Danapur (India)

Once seen as a burden, I am now a financial support for my family’

Every woman has the right to decide over her own body. Simavi empowers women to claim their right to decide for themselves if they want to marry, with whom and when.

Lily Behera (19 years old), Danapur (India)

Facing a setback: a marriage proposal

‘My name is Lily Behera and I live in a village called Danapur with my parents and three siblings. I joined a girls group from More Than Brides in 2017 as an adolescent group member. Within six months I became the discussion leader of my group.

However, the very next year I faced a setback as my family received a marriage proposal for me. I was just 17 years old at the time. My future seemed hopeless as my family seriously considered the early marriage proposal due to our weak financial situation.’

Finding a job and supporting my family

‘With the support of my fellow adolescent group members from the girls group, I somehow found the courage to reject the early marriage proposal. Instead, I insisted on continuing my education. It was no less than a miracle when I was finally able to convince my parents to reject the proposal.

Not only was I able to continue school, but I also got the opportunity to follow a certificate course on computer application conducted by VHAI (partner of Simavi). After completing the course, I found a part-time job as a data entry operator in a local Kiosk Bank, which gave me an income. I not only became independent, but I was also able to support my family.’

Lily Behera, India
Lily Behera
‘I not only became independent, but I was also able to support my family’

Appreciation and respect from the wider community

'As I continued my role as a discussion leader of my adolescent group, I was encouraged to apply for the post of Cluster Level Resource Person in the Odisha Livelihood Mission. I applied for the position, and with unanimous support of the villagers, I was selected.

Today I hold a respected job in my own village. Once seen as a burden, I am now a financial support for my family. I can say with confidence that the power of self-belief and determination can do anything!’

‘I can say with confidence that the power of self-belief and determination can do anything!’ - Lily Behera

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