Too Young To Wed

Maria: "I was married when I was very young. I used to sell milk to get food and sleep in the forest because I don't have a place to sleep. Society should stop bad practices because what I have been through was so hard for me. After my education, I would like to be a nurse so that I can help other girls like me."- Modestar/Too Young To Wed/Samburu Girls Foundation

Maria: "I was married when I was very young. I used to sell milk to get food and sleep in the forest because I don't have a place to sleep. Society should stop bad practices because what I have been through was so hard for me. After my education, I would like to be a nurse so that I can help other girls like me."- Modestar/Too Young To Wed/Samburu Girls Foundation

For 15 years, Stephanie Sinclair has taken photos of child brides around the world — from Tahani in Yemen, married at age 6, to 14-year-old Niruta in Nepal, and many more. In 2012, she started the nonprofit Too Young To Wed to raise awareness of their plight.

Now she's given some young women a chance to take their own pictures — a kind of art therapy that she hopes will "help girls deal with their trauma."

In January, Sinclair and her team decided to turn the cameras over to a group of 10 girls in Kenya. They partnered with the Samburu Girls Foundation, which rescues girls from child marriage and female genital mutilation, to organise a weeklong photography workshop.

Most of the 11- to 14-year-olds who participated had never held a camera before.

Sinclair and three volunteer photographers taught the girls basic digital photography skills so they could take portraits of each other. They also provided leadership training to help the girls "harness their inner strength and raise their voices confidently," says Sinclair.

"Today I learned a girl can do anything," says Eunice, a 14-year-old participant. "I learned how to take someone's photo by using the light from the window. I learned I am creative and can learn fast."

Check out some of the images from these workshops below.

Modestar: "I am at the Samburu Girls Foundation for many problems. One is for early marriage. I could not go to school because my parents were very poor. This made me very sad. I could not say my A, B, C, Ds, but I knew I was a very bright girl. Today, they gave us small things called cameras. Everybody carries them. For the rest of my life, I will not forget this day." - Maria/Too Young To Wed/Samburu Girls Foundation

Modestar: "I am at the Samburu Girls Foundation for many problems. One is for early marriage. I could not go to school because my parents were very poor. This made me very sad. I could not say my A, B, C, Ds, but I knew I was a very bright girl. Today, they gave us small things called cameras. Everybody carries them. For the rest of my life, I will not forget this day." - Maria/Too Young To Wed/Samburu Girls Foundation

Angela: "Today we took photos of each other. We shared our stories about our challenges. It is good for girls to share their stories, these photos are from our heart. Marriage is not good for young girls. What I feel today: Nice, excited, fantastic, enjoyment." - Naramat/Too Young To Wed/Samburu Girls Foundation

Angela: "Today we took photos of each other. We shared our stories about our challenges. It is good for girls to share their stories, these photos are from our heart. Marriage is not good for young girls. What I feel today: Nice, excited, fantastic, enjoyment." - Naramat/Too Young To Wed/Samburu Girls Foundation

Naramat: "I'm at the Samburu Girls Foundation because I had many challenges at home. I wanted to go to school but no one would take me there. I am at peace because I am in school now. I want to be a teacher. A girl can be educated and be someone, like any other person in the world." - Angela/Too Young To Wed/Samburu Girls Foundation

Naramat: "I'm at the Samburu Girls Foundation because I had many challenges at home. I wanted to go to school but no one would take me there. I am at peace because I am in school now. I want to be a teacher. A girl can be educated and be someone, like any other person in the world." - Angela/Too Young To Wed/Samburu Girls Foundation

Nashaki: "Today we shared our stories with each other. It is important. My friend cried when she shared her story, but I know it also made her happy. It will not be forgotten. I love her." - Jane/Too Young To Wed/Samburu Girls Foundation

Nashaki: "Today we shared our stories with each other. It is important. My friend cried when she shared her story, but I know it also made her happy. It will not be forgotten. I love her." - Jane/Too Young To Wed/Samburu Girls Foundation

QUICK FACTS: CHILD MARRIAGE AROUND THE WORLD

  • One third of girls in the developing world are married before the age of 18 and 1 in 9 are married before the age of 15.
  • In 2012, 70 million women aged 20-24 from around the world had been married before the age of 18.
  • If present trends continue, 150 million girls will be married before their 18th birthday over the next decade. That’s an average of 15 million girls each year.
  • While countries with the highest prevalence of child marriage are concentrated in Western and Sub-Saharan Africa, due to population size, the largest number of child brides reside in South Asia.

POVERTY AND CHILD MARRIAGE

  • Girls living in poor households are almost twice as likely to marry before 18 than girls in higher income households.
  • More than half of the girls in Bangladesh, Mali, Mozambique and Niger are married before age 18. In these same countries, more than 75 percent of people live on less than $2 a day.

EDUCATION AND CHILD MARRIAGE

  • Girls with higher levels of schooling are less likely to marry as children. In Mozambique, some 60 percent of girls with no education are married by 18, compared to 10 percent of girls with secondary schooling and less than one percent of girls with higher education.
  • Educating adolescent girls has been a critical factor in increasing the age of marriage in a number of developing countries, including Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and Thailand.
Statistics provided by International Centre for Research on Women, 2015.

Do you want to make a difference to developing world education to help bring a childhood back to these girls?

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