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End Child Marriage and Give Girls a Brighter Future

Child Marriage practices in Yemen caught widespread international attention with the story of 9-year-old Yemeni child bride Nujood Ali, now age 12. After enduring abuse from her husband, Ali was granted a landmark divorce at the age of 10. Her story has been written into the book I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced, and has put pressure on Yemen to end the practice of child marriages. After the Ali case, new legislation was proposed in Yemen that would raise the legal marrying age for girls to 17. However, the legislation has faced setbacks and has not yet been passed.

Recently another story from Yemen made headlines, this one with a more tragic ending. On April 2, Elham Assi, age 13, died from genital injuries and internal bleeding four days after being married off to an older man.

Child marriage is not just a problem in Yemen. According to CARE, 60 million girls around the world are married before the age of 17. UNICEF reports that in many countries, such as Bangladesh, Central African Republic, Chad, Guinea, Mali, and Niger more than 60% of women entered into a marriage or union before age 18.

As this recent tragedy in Yemen illustrates, girls’ lives are at stake. According to CARE, girls under the age of 15 are five times more likely to die of childbirth than a woman in her 20s. Girls who marry early are also more likely to drop out of school, contract HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, and remain in poverty.

Child marriage is an entrenched and complex problem, but US leadership could go a long way in helping to curb end the practice worldwide. The International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act of 2009 was recently introduced into US congress to address the child marriage issue. The legislation would introduce new measures for reporting the incidence of child marriage and would designate funding to prevent child marriage and to provide educational and economic opportunities to at-risk girls in the developing world.

If you live in the US join CARE’s campaign to pass the International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act of 2009.


warona's picture


As we all know its unbearable, who on earth can have the guts to let go their teenage girls to strange men,without knowing what they will do with them,So for us to combat these ideas we need to arise and promote educational and economic opportunities for the girls and for poor women who might be misled in giving away their children in the name of bride price.Some other tribes are still behind.They cant see the risks they are putting on their beloved children innocent as they are,they are bluffed for nothing.We understand some they die due to the fact that their bodies are not yet in a position to accept that.But not i would like to appeal to the inhabitants of CARE 'S CAMPAIGN to work hard towards this because these children are in great Danger, there is no one to speak for them.Their parents are blind folded,may its their culture,but once they persive that children will be robbed of their youth.They will be grieved to pass other stages of childhood since they are turned into women before time which is wrong.And now i appeal to all women across the globe to support the US CARE CAMPAIGN in any way possible so the future will be bright in all these countries where we see these practises like indonesia,sri lanka,zimbabwe,Bangledesh,niger,Taiwan and Thailand.So people lets help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


"success will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time " And when confronted conquer with love

effanga's picture

It a horrible truth

It ia a horrible truth, here in Nigeria (One of the countries with the highest population of muslims in Africa) girls are given out in marriage even before the clock 10 years. You do not have the right as the mother to interfere in what happens to your child. Even amongst the christians the father has the final say, a child is said to belong to the father which is why bride price is paid to the father, mothers can only negotiate, the average african woman can not insist on her opinion she can only suggest and if she insists she is seen as too forward. I have seen instances where a mother is not allowed to attend her daughter's marriage because the father did not approve of the husband as attending means forfeiting your home and all you have worked for especially where the woman is not protected by court marriage and even where she was married in court without the means, she can not fight a legal system that is partial to men. I was brought up to believe it is a man's world and the final decisions affecting your life is subject to the approval of your husband. I believe in equality and compromise in relationships, some thing that is foriegn to a lot of marriages in Nigeria especially marriages which are pre-arrange without the opinion of the bride, where the husband sees the bride as his property to do with as he deems fit.
I look forward to the US CARE CAMPAIGN's success and i appeal to all women all over the globe to advocate for it as it would work towards bringing about the end of to the opression and abuse of women, it would give women opportunities to stand their ground and have a say in matters affecting them. Women should rise up and fight as it is only when we make the effort that we can make a difference!

bhagya's picture

It's undermining a woman's capabilities

I strongly disagree in child marriage. I personally have witnessed a couple of incidents during my stay in Bangladesh. The child is too small to experiment with her life. She has a long way to go and opportunities waiting for her to become a active particiapnt in the dvelopment of the country. That's why I feel this is undermining her capabilities within a society. I came to know of a girl named fhamidha whose father was willing to sell her to a foreginer who casually visited Bangladesh for buisness purpose. He was trying to make all attempts to somehow get her small daughter to be sold to this buisness man in order to fight poverty. He too was willing to take her abroad as his wife. Can you rely on his words and draw the conclusion that he is really going to take care of her and keep her like a princess. Girls in their early teens ahve often reported of spousal abuse and sexual harrasment too. It is absurd for the society to hand over a huge responsibility to a child that has just started to menstruate. Her education, youth all is spoilt because of her early marriage. In a world when adult marriages too deal with disputes and divorces, it is not suprising to me to think the devasting outcomes an early marriage would bring about. Eventually, the girl is affected, because the man would seek to get married off to anotehr woman again in no time. I feel that we all should stand up for child rights and give a voice to the voiceless and powerless small generation.

Bhagya jojo

WorldCare's picture

Young Girl Marriage

This is foreign to my own experience and culture here in U.S. I feel pain for the girls who must endure this partnering with a man when they are so young, missing their childhood. I am glad to know about World Pulse (which I just discovered this week!), and the many efforts made by women's groups, to overturn and change this practice. My heart goes out to those who are caught up in this cultural practice, and I pray that the society will WAKE UP, and respect young girls for who they are: happy, fun, learning, and heading toward an education. THIS is the life the girls must have. Then some day, they might be ready to share with a man, within a family life. These girls will grow to be leaders of a good country also, if allowed to do so.

Halima Mohamed Abdel rahman's picture

common phenomenon

This phenomenon is very common in countries like mine..
Early marriage, complicates lives of young girls and exposes them to dropping out of education, diseases, early frequent births, child and mother high rate mortality, divorce, trafficking in persons, flesh trading,...etc.

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