Tabbu lives in the village of Chota Muri in Ranchi, Jharkhand. More than half the girls in Jharkhand are married before they turn 18, making it the state with the third-highest rate of early marriage in India, which—though the practice has been illegal there for a century—is home to the largest number of early marriages in the world.
But for Tabbu and her sisters, things will be different. When she was 16, Tabbu took part in a Breakthrough training program in her village that uses interactive theater to immerse students in an understanding of early marriage and embolden them to challenge it. After playing the role of a girl trying to talk her father out of the practice, Tabbu went home and did just that. It took her a few weeks, but she finally convinced her father to break his plans to marry off her older teenaged sisters.
Today, Tabbu and one sister are in college; the oldest has just finished college. Tabbu, who also enjoys cooking and dancing, plans to be a teacher—and, as she says, “a social change actor.” Together with her father, Tabbu continues to advocate against early marriage in her community.