In a cement-walled room at the end of a rutted road in the rural Indian district of Bhiwani, a teenage girl named Lado sits in a shaft of sunlight and talks confidently about her future. “I want to be a math teacher,” says the 17-year-old, her printed green scarf falling on to her lap. “I tell my parents, ‘Do whatever you want, but educate me. Let me go to school.’”
Millions of girls across the world end up as child brides, despite the practice being outlawed in many countries. But some girls are defying their families' attempts to marry them off.
Every second girl in the high prevalence child marriage districts of West Bengal were married off before they reach 18, the legal age for girls to get wedded, a UNICEF report said.
WNN) Lusaka: Had it not been for the prompt action of a concerned community, Zambian 15-year-old Evelyn Mwale would still be trapped in a forced marriage.
"Child marriage, often deemed by elders to protect girls from sexual predation, promiscuity and social ostracism, in fact makes them more likely to be ignorant about health and more vulnerable to school droupout. Many adolescent girls are required to marry early; and when they become pregnant, they face a much higher risk of maternal mortality, as their bodies are not mature enough to cope with the experience.
Two years after Azerbaijan’s parliament promised tougher laws to prevent underage marriage, it took a police raid to stop a man in his thirties marrying a 13-year-old.
Child brides are not only robbed of childhood, but also face a range of health risks. USAID targets attitudes, education, and empowerment. It all starts at the community level.
In a country where no laws protect children from marriage, efforts to make wedlock more female-friendly raises conservatives’ ire.
An adolescent girl living in poverty could be the most powerful person in the world. If she is reached early enough, she can accelerate economies, arrest major global health issues and break cycles of poverty.
She was just 10 years old when she was married to a cousin who was three times her age. Now Reem Al Numery is divorced and fighting against child marriage.
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