Payal Jangid, a 17-year-old girl from Rajasthan, received the Changemaker Award, presented by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The first Indian to get the award, she was recognised for her work towards abolition of child marriage and child labour in her village.
The Changemaker Award honours the achievements of young activists, campaigners, and innovators across the world for inspiring social change according to the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations.
Payal's inspiring journey began with her fight against her own marriage at a young age, and then going on to empower other young girls in her village. Through campaigns, rallies, putting up posters and speaking to children and elders in nearby villages, Payal tries to persuade families to allow girls to study and not get them married off as children. In a video shared by the Gates Foundation, she said: “We had to work hard to make the elders realise that they were prohibiting us from getting our education. I want every child in the world without education to be helped, and given a chance,” she said.
Payal was also elected as leader of the Child Parliament, a youth forum that escalates issues to the village Mayor.
Her father Pappuram Jangid, proud of his daughter's initiatives, said that her work has brought major improvement in the villages. “Almost all kids are going to school now. There have not been any child marriages in the village for the last 8-10 years.
Nobel laureate and child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi also congratulated Payal. “Sumedha ji and I are so proud & moved to watch our daughter Payal receiving Changemaker Award from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation now in New York. She refused her marriage and her entire village was free from child marriages & labour,” he said.
Sumedha ji and I are so proud & moved to watch our daughter Payal receiving Changemaker Award from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation now in New York. She refused her marriage and her entire village was free from child marriages & labour. @gatesfoundation @BillGates @melindagates pic.twitter.com/zMc8KMUHf2— Kailash Satyarthi (@k_satyarthi) September 25, 2019