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Every year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18

That's nearly one girl's dreams going dark every two seconds

 
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"I was almost one..."

When a girl becomes a bride, her fundamental human rights are shattered: she almost always loses her opportunity for an education, her health is put in peril and her safety at risk. Child marriage happens everywhere. It devastates the lives of girls, negatively impacts communities and ultimately stunts the growth of nations.

As a young woman who barely escaped becoming a child bride, Sonita Alizadeh is well-aware of the devastating consequences of forced marriage. Sonita was born in Afghanistan under the Taliban regime but grew up as an undocumented refugee in Iran where she faced forced marriage as a teenager. Still unsure of her fate in 2014, she wrote the song Daughters for Sale to express her pain and share her experience and the experience of so many of her friends. The 2016 documentary film Sonita captures part of her story.

With the backing of the nonprofit The Strongheart Group, Sonita came to the United States in 2015 to pursue her dream of getting an education. Over the course of a few short years, in partnership with Strongheart, Sonita has transformed from a teenager with no formal education into a high school graduate recognized as the leading youth advocate for child marriage in the world. Sonita’s message is reaching the highest levels of global leadership, and her story and vision are inspiring young women around the world to stand against child marriage and stand up for their dreams.

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"TODAY, I AM AN ACTIVIST, OR, YOU COULD SAY A RAP-TIVIST."

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Sonita is amplifying the issue of child marriage on stages all around the world including the Clinton Global Initiative, Aspen Institute, the United Nations and many, many more.


“WE CAN’T CHANGE ANYTHING, IF WE DO NOT UNDERSTAND IT.”

Child marriage devastates the lives of girls and impacts the health, human rights, and education level of nations.  And it happens globally, across countries, cultures, religions and ethnicities.

Refugees are particularly vulnerable to child marriage.

Without ending child marriage, we won’t achieve 8 of the 17 SDGs

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“The world is full of young people with bright minds and big hopes. Imagine what could happen if all the girls being forced into marriage could instead make their dreams come true.”

- Sonita
 

 

"WE EACH HAVE A TOOL WE CAN USE TO MAKE CHANGE. MINE IS MY MICROPHONE. WHAT IS YOURS?"

 

We're getting creative in our work to end child marriage. Sign up today and be part of this exciting project. More details coming soon!

Stand with Sonita and declare a girl's right to choose if, when and whom she marries. Governments must enact and enforce laws to end child marriage.

Download our curriculum on child marriage, learn more, and share. Lead a workshop and teach your friends!

Moved by Sonita's story? Pay it forward! Share her music and connect on social media to make sure the voices and stories of girls like Sonita ring loud around the world.

 
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“MY STORY IS JUST ONE STORY. MY VOICE IS JUST ONE VOICE. I WANT TO EXTEND THE MIC TO THE MANY YOUNG PEOPLE IN THE WORLD WORKING TO END CHILD MARRIAGE.

THEY ARE BRAVE AND BOLD.”

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BRAVE & BOLD: IT’S TIME TO SHARE THE MIC

Sonita’s personal story, insights, and messages are shining a light for world leaders on the urgency to end child marriage and its critical crossover with other global priorities. Her example as an activist is reaching and inspiring public audiences around the world to take a stand.

But the story of child marriage is not just Sonita’s. Youth everywhere are working in their local communities. But, their unique perspectives have yet to be heard at scale. The volume needs to be turned up. By bringing more diverse stories to the highest levels of global leadership, we will inform and accelerate change. Youth will see themselves represented and feel energized to continue their work as agents of change – so more girls will have the chance to live out their dreams.

Sonita and her partner organization, The Strongheart Group, are committed to amplifying the voices, messages, and experiences of vibrant young people from all around the world working to end child marriage.