4 Stories of Young Girls in Asia Beating the Odds Against Child Marriage

Child marriage is a problem that affects girls globally.

Luckily, organizations like Girls Not Brides is determined to help young girls at risk of entering into early marriages. This global partnership is made up of more than 500 civil society organizations that are fully committed to ending child marriage and empowering girls to reach their potential. 

In honor of International Day of the Girl on October 11, we're celebrating and sharing the stories of young girls across Asia who beat the odds and are doing their part to help and inspire other girls to end child marriage.

1. In Cambodia, Linda made a deal with her parents to let her apply to the SALT academy's football team. If she was selected, she would be able to continue her education and turn down her family's plans to marry her off at 15. Learn more details about her story in the video below: 


2. For Laxmi in India, sports would also save her from an early marriage. In her community, most girls are expected to get married after they turn 12. She challenged her family’s opinions on what girls are and are not allowed to do by joining GOAL. The program allowed her to become a coach and referee. Check out more details of Laxmi's story below: 

3. Kebumen is a rural part of Indonesia’s Java province where early and forced marriages have been a major problem for years. Plan International began a youth radio initiative in order to fight against child marriage in Indonesia. The initiative is run by a local youth group lead by 17-year-old Nur. She hopes to use the media to change her community’s ideas on gender roles and would like to become a TV reporter some day. Luckily, the community is beginning to see the importance of encouraging young girls to pursue a full education above all else. This initiative helped spark similar youth groups in communities across Asia. You can learn more details about Nur’s efforts towards gender equality here.

4. In Pakistan, Razia was married off at a young age in her village of Thatta. Her family jumped at the opportunity of marrying her off without asking her opinion while she was studying in the 3rd grade. During her marriage, any money she earned was automatically handed over to her husband. After the untimely death of her husband, it seemed Razia fell on hard times. 

Plan Pakistan began a project titled Reproductive Health Information to Adolescents (RHIA). The initiative also features the Adolescent Friendly Centers (AFCs) which provide adolescent girls and boys with information on sexual and reproductive health while giving youths a platform for healthy recreational activities. At 19 years old, Razia now works with children in the local Early Childhood Care and Development center and also pays visits to the AFC. She’s also been able to pick up her studies where she left off. You can continue to learn more here. (Razia’s name was changed in order to protect her identity.) 

NEXT: Girls Gone Global: MAKERS Celebrates International Day of the Girl 2015 »

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Photo Credit: Vimeo / WomenWin