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Posts tagged ‘child marriage’

Child Marriage In South Sudan

Dear Gabriel,

girl-smile-200x160Marriage isn’t just a milestone. It’s a hugely important decision that determines the course of the rest of your life. It’s not a decision to enter into lightly and certainly not one a 12-year-old can make responsibly.

But in South Sudan, child marriage of girls as young as 12 isn’t just legal, it’s common. Sign the petition demanding an end to child marriage.

Nearly half of South Sudanese girls between 15-19 are married, often at the behest of their family. These girls suffer profound consequences and diminished opportunities. Once married, girls often are denied education, diminishing their earnings potential. Girls quickly become young mothers with high-risk pregnancies and are more susceptible to violence and abuse.

It’s not enough for a country to help girls end abusive marriages. South Sudan needs strong laws to make sure all marriages are consensual — and that means setting 18 as the minimum marrying age.

Tell South Sudan to enact strong laws to prevent coerced child marriage.

Thank you for taking action,

Emily V.
Care2 and ThePetitionSite Team

Every Three Seconds

Dear Gabriel,

Child marriage puts the life of a girl at risk every three seconds, while diminishing her chances at education, endangering her health, cutting short her personal growth and development – and increasing the likelihood that she’ll remain poor for life.

With the first-ever International Day of the Girl less than a week from today, the time to act on this harmful issue is now!

Do you remember how close Congress came in 2010 to passing the International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act? We do – this vital legislation went so far because of the dedication, commitment and support of people like you.

During the past few years, tens of thousands of CARE supporters have contacted their elected officials, advocating on behalf of young girls to put an end to this gross human rights violation. As a result of your efforts, more elected officials than ever are joining the movement to end child marriage. Thank you.

Today, we ask you to join us again in taking a stand to end child marriage and unleash every girl’s full potential. Please ask Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to commit to increased political and financial investments in girls around the world to end this harmful practice.

Action and investment from the U.S. government can help vulnerable girls escape early marriage and provide lifesaving support for married adolescents.

Second chances don’t come often. With the support of advocates across the country, we can make a difference in the lives of girls everywhere. Send your message to Secretary of State Clinton now – and help bring an end to child marriage for good!

Sincerely,

Helene D. Gayle, MD, MPH
President and CEO, CARE

Child Marriage

MAYBE SOMEDAY, BUT NOT TODAY
from CARE

Legally, Mukeshwari’s marriage should never even have been a possibility. She was only 15 years old. But Mukeshwari lived in Thuadabri, an isolated rural village where it is traditional to give girls in marriage soon after they reached puberty. And her grandfather insisted. “The boy is good; the family is good,” he said. “This chance may not come again.”

The groom was an older man, a driver living in a nearby village. Mukeshwari agreed that he might be a suitable match, but that was beside the point. “I didn’t want to get married,” she says. “I wanted to go to school.”

Early marriage poses a host of problems for girls like Mukeshwari. Girls who marry young are less likely to finish school and have fewer economic opportunities. They are more likely to undergo physical and sexual abuse at the hands of their husbands and in-laws. They often have little or no control over when they have sex or when they have children. And when they do become pregnant, adolescent girls have a much greater risk of complications and death than older women.

Under other circumstances, Mukeshwari’s parents might have intervened. But her family was poor, and her parents had left to look for work in the neighboring state of Maharashtra. So when she learned that her grandfather had arranged her marriage, she had no one to turn to but her friends – and Parwati Sahu.

Parwati is a CARE-trained volunteer health worker in Thuadabri. Though her primary responsibility and expertise is working with mothers and young children, Parwati and the other health volunteers CARE works with are also trained to be “change agents” – individuals who help transform the way their communities treat women and girls. Parwati had worked with Mukeshwari and other teenage girls in the village to discuss health issues, including family planning and early marriage. She knew right away that Mukeshwari’s marriage was wrong, and that something had to be done to stop it.

Parwati went with Mukeshwari, her friends and other volunteer health workers to confront Mukeshwari’s grandfather. But he was adamant: He had made an agreement with the boy’s mother and he intended to carry it through. So Parwati went to the panchayat, or village council, and presented the case.

Fortunately, Parwati and Mukeshwari had the law on their side. The panchayat voted to stop the marriage until Mukeshwari was at least 18. Faced with the community’s overwhelming decision, her grandfather had to give in.

This was the first time an early marriage had been stopped in Thuadabri, but it won’t be the last. With Parwati’s help, the village formed a committee on early marriage. The committee visits the houses of families with adolescent girls, discussing the problems of marrying young and making sure no early marriages are arranged.

As for Mukeshwari, she’s back in school and happy. “I don’t want to marry anyone right now,” she says. “I want to be a doctor. I’ll come back to Thuadabri and make sure everyone here stays healthy.”

It takes a lot of work, time and investment to become a doctor. But by staying in school, Mukeshwari has kept the opportunity open. With Parwati and the rest of Thuadabri firmly behind her, it is entirely possible she’ll succeed.

Help girls like Mukeshwari escape child marriage >

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