Sarah loves going to school. It’s where she gets to play soccer and netball with her friends. It’s where she gets to learn about her favorite subject, science. She dreams of one day becoming a nurse because she loves helping people.
But one day, her mother and father tell her it’s time to stop going to school. She’s about to graduate from primary school, which is free in Malawi, but her parents can’t afford to send her to secondary school, which is not.
They say it’s time for her to get married. Sarah is 14 years old.
“I don’t want to get married. I want to go to school!”
But in her parent’s eyes, this is her best option for a better life.
In countries like Malawi, there are few options for girls who can’t afford an education. This makes the cycle of poverty almost impossible to escape. Girls or their families may see marriage as the only way out.
Child marriage is still a common practice around the world. In Malawi, 46% of girls get married before the age of 18, and 9% get married before the age of 15.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, child marriage has spiked around the world. That’s because the main drivers of child marriage—poverty, lack of education, lack of job opportunities, teenage pregnancy—have been made worse by the pandemic.
“Child marriage is a violation of children’s rights, putting girls at greater risk of dropping out of school, domestic violence and potential life-threatening health consequences of early pregnancy.” (UNICEF 2018)
We will never reach gender equality until there are no more child brides.
Girls are crying out against this practice. They know they are capable of so much more. They have the passion, the drive, and the desire to stop child marriage. All they need is the opportunity.
That’s where you come in.
There’s a powerful weapon we can use to fight child marriage—education. We are celebrating International Day of the Girl Child on October 11th by asking you to sponsor a girl or young woman in our program. Through sponsorship, girls have the opportunity to get an education, as well as the food, clean water, medical care, and support from teachers and staff that keeps them in school and makes it possible for them to reach their full potential.
When you sponsor, you’ll give girls and young women a say in their future.
We know it’s possible to stop child marriage—12 years of education for every girl would reduce child marriage by 64%!
But we need to act NOW, before time is up for children like Sarah, children whose dreams will never come true because they can’t go to school.
Imagine what could have happened if Sarah’s story had gone differently. What if she had been able to stay in school, go to university, and pursue her dream of becoming a nurse? How would her life, family, and community be different today?
With your help, girls like Sarah won’t have to wonder what could have been. Instead, they will write their own story.
P.S. To help prevent child marriage for girls like Sarah, sponsor a girl or young woman today!