Child Marriage in Niger

Image by Plan Canada

If you were the parent of a 15 year old girl, would you give your permission for her to marry? Most likely not. Yet in Niger, many girls under 18 are getting married with their parents’ permission. These girls face life of abuse and they are forced to give up their dreams.

Belita was 14 when a man asked her parents permission to marry her. They accepted. Belita was devastated. She had dreams of continuing her studies and becoming a teacher. She tried to make her parents change their minds but they refused. Belita was desperate. What was she going to do? Read the rest of Belita’s story and find out how a chance encounter changed her life.

According to the 2015 UNICEF report, Niger ranks number one on the list of the ten worst places for child marriage. The most vulnerable to child marriage are girls who are poor, under-educated and live in rural areas. Some of them lack the opportunity to go to school or are threatened and coerced. These girls experience domestic violence, rape, poor reproductive health and lower levels of education.

Take action to outlaw forced child marriage in Niger. Help girls stay in school and avoid early marriage so that they can become healthy and productive adults. Girls should have the right to choose when they want to get married.

Sources: Walk Free; World Vision

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