Promised in marriage to a cousin at age 12, Balkissa Chaibou did her best to delay the inevitable. But when at age 16 her wedding day was upon her, she did something extraordinary. She took her father and uncle to court to contest an unwanted marriage. Even more extraordinary she won - and lived to tell the tale.
More common is the story of Saba Qaiser. The 19-year-old Pakistani woman had the audacity to marry for love. She was then lured to her and shot by an uncle and her father to restore the family's "honor" - otherwise known as an honor crime. An honor crime occurs world-wide about every 90 minutes. Saba's story is the subject of an Oscar-nominated documentary, A Girl in the River.
In Niger, where Balkissa lives, 1 in 3 girls is married by age 15 and 3 in 4 are married by age 18. In ten countries, more than half of all girls are married by age 18. Who are these girls? Too Young to Wed shows us in a powerful pictorial display.
Child marriage is a reality for too many girls. It denies them an education, it deprives them of control over their bodies, and it creates fundamental dangers to girls' health and safety. The Justice Girls commend Balkissa Chaibou and Saba Qaiser for their courage. The Justice Girls commend all girls and women (and the courageous people who help them) fighting child marriage world-wide.
Think this issue is too big for Justice Girls like you? Think again. Write a school report, share information on child marriage through social media, write a petition to your political representatives, raise money to donate to organizations fighting child marriage ... there's so much you can do! And let the good folks at Too Young to Wed know what you've done!