I have an almost 13year old daughter whose only real concern is about friendship issues, sport and what to do at the weekend. I teach girls aged 14-18 and for most life is pretty straight forward. Sadly the same cannot be said the world over.
Today is the International Day of the Girl which is calling for an end to child brides. Girls (and they really are girls) that are traded by their families as they fight against the weight of poverty and discrimination. I didn’t realise that each day an estimated 24,500 girls will marry before reaching their 18th birthdays. At current rates, 100 million girls will marry as children in the next decade. This is a staggering loss of potential.
As a mother, a teacher and an educator these quotes are devastating to read:
When my father told me I was going to be married off, I felt my life had been ruined. I visualized a life like that of my mother – marriage, lots of children. All dreams shattered.” Chaitali, 10 – Bangladesh
“I couldn’t believe my ears. I burst into loud cry and my eyes were filled with tears. I begged her kneeling down to cancel the marriage, but she said no.” Amira, 10 – Ethiopia. Amira’s full story is found here.
“It was not voluntary and I became very angry when I heard about. It was a sudden agony to me. I felt I would have no chance for education. My hope for development darkened.’’ Kassa, 14 – Ethiopia
“I was 17 years old at that time. I don’t know if I had a choice or not. All I knew is that I had to obey my parents.” Krishna, 24 – India
‘Early marriage is dangerous for a girl. I was thinking that if I got married at that age it was nothing but to choose the cave of death. Promita, 16 – Bangladesh.
I struggle to find the words that sums up how we need to make a stand against this. Imagine a father being so poor this seems like the only option. In order for things to change there needs to be a cultural shift and this is not easy to achieve, which is why we need to be shouting about it. It can only happen if enough people talk about this practise.
Girls the world over need to be empowered and to recognise their potential. These girls need us to be their voices. If this was my daughter I’d want others to help. We live in a world where equality hasn’t touched everyone yet. There is still so much to be done. We have to hope and campaign for this to happen and together we must give these girls the opportunities they deserve.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Join us in taking a stand against child marriage by blogging, tweeting or sharing a link on facebook using the stories provided. As we fight for global action to tackle this issue your voice strengthens these efforts, amplifying our call to your readers, your friends and your community.
If you’re a blogger:
- Write about child marriage on your blog in honour of #dayofthegirl, asking your readers to add their voice or sponsor a girl to help put an end to child marriage.
- Add the link code above right to be featured on our website and amplify the call.
- Tweet us at @WorldVisionPR or @KaylaERobertson to let us know.
On twitter and facebook:
- Follow @WorldVisionUK and @WorldVisionPR and World Vision’s facebook page for news and stories on #childmarriage. Share, RT and add your voice
Sponsor a girl:
- Sponsoring a girl provides girls and their communities with education and support to empower them to take a stand against child marriage.
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