17-Year-Old Is Fighting to End Child Marriage in India After Escaping It Herself | Kailash Satyarthi US

For 17-year-old Payal Jangid, her fight against child marriage in her native India is personal.

The teen — who last week was recognized at the Gates Foundation Goalkeepers Awards with the Changemaker Award — has been a tireless force of change when it comes to ending the age-old practice, as it nearly happened to her.

Jangid tells PEOPLE via a translator that she was just 11 when she learned her parents had arranged for her and her sister to be married — and put a stop to it with help from local activists.

The teen says her eyes were opened to the plight of her fellow children when she met activists at school who introduced her to the idea of a bal panchayat, or child parliament, in which local kids are elected to a village council.