More than 60 percent of families turn to unscrupulous moneylenders to borrow funds for wedding ceremonies. Loans to cover those costs come with impossibly high interest rates, causing many families to fall into bondage to “work-off” the debt. In 2016, PGS along with its federation of quarry miners organized innovative group wedding wherein five couples were married at the same time so their families could share the financial burden. More than 1,000 people witnessed the occasion. It was not organized by an expensive wedding planner, but by slavery survivors — villagers who want freedom for the next generation by saying “no to debt” for weddings. This event has encouraged the concept of community social responsibility and has helped in achieving self-esteem of the community.
The innovation of collective marriage ceremonies not only changed the mindset of community members, it also helped them envision a slavery-free life for the next generation. With hope for a new dawn of freedom, PGS will be working to help replicate this model in many more slavery-prone communities.
In 2017, 27 families came forward to participate under collective marriage. PGS can facilitate marriage of 10 couples in a function of collective marriage. Therefore, priority will be given to those 10 families who are either under debt bondedness or at a high risk of getting into debt bondedness after marrying their son or daughter (if not selected for collective marriage). The priority will also be given to those families whose sons or daughters are at a marriageable age. The ones whose sons or daughters are still a minor; their marriage will be put on hold until they attain adulthood.