"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 song caught fire around the world. 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, Sonita has transformed from a teenager with no formal education to 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.
SPEAKING ON THE ISSUE
Refugees are particularly vulnerable to child marriage.
Without ending child marriage, we won’t achieve 8 of the 17 SDGs
Through her advocacy work with The Strongheart Group, Sonita has become a champion for Girls Not Brides, a partnership of more than 800 civil society organisations worldwide working to end child marriage.
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.
We can only change the things we understand. 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.
“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.”
Join Us to End Child Marriage
Project 12 Million — Sonita has partnered with The Strongheart Group to spark a movement to end child marriage and give every child the chance to make their dreams into reality.
Strongheart uses the power of personal story to help solve the world’s most complex social issues and approaches Project 12 Million with years of experience learning how change happens. These are our goals:
1. YOUTH ASPIRATION: Inspire youth around the world to aspire to great things, reach for the future they imagine for themselves, and join other young changemakers in a collective effort to end child marriage.
2. YOUTH PARTICIPATION: Drive meaningful youth participation in key public-facing and high-level influencer events so that passionate young people and those impacted by child marriage are the ones informing policies and programs and sparking conversations everywhere.
3. EDUCATION: Expand both content and reach of our existing curriculum with students, families, and communities to open new dialogues about the far-reaching impact of child marriage.
4. GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY: Channel youth participation and advocacy efforts to be heard by governments and governing bodies so that they prioritize their work to end child marriage in their countries and communities.