My girls are mad about Fairy Tales: the kind where the Princess and Prince fall in love and live happily ever after. LBG spent our entire three week trip to Arizona planning her wedding in intense detail: she will be wearing my white pool dress, her sister will carry her flowers, DH must wear his black jacket and I, I will drive the pink unicorns. Magical, right?
The thing is, when you talk to her properly about weddings, much as she is desperate to marry her best friend E, she tells you that it will happen when she is a ‘grown-up lady’, as will having children (although I may nearly have spat my coffee out when she asked the other day if 15 was old enough!)
She has the luxury of time: to enjoy her childhood, to grow up, mature physically and make her own decisions.
One in seven girls in the developing world do not have that luxury: they will be married before they are 15 and some as young as five years old. LBG will be five next year. She can’t even tie her own shoe laces. She couldn’t be someone’s wife. We wouldn’t let her.
One in three girls globally is denied a secondary education. My babies want nothing more than to learn to read the words in the many books that they own so that they can read them to other children.
In many communities, girls lack access to food and medical care because they are valued less than boys. This means that globally, girls are more likely to die before their fifth birthday. Did I mention that LBG will be five soon. I cannot deny her anything: her Christmas list is already as long as my arm.
Pregnancy and childbirth are the leading causes of death for girls aged 15-19 in the world’s poorest countries. I know several people who would have died in childbirth in their thirties were it not for the accessible healthcare we have in the UK. LBG spent her first few hours of life in the SCBU.
My Girls have experienced more luxury, love, support and encouragement in their short lives that these girls will ever know.
11th October 2012 marks the first International Day of the Girl: with education, skills and support, girls can choose their own future and be a force for change. As a woman, a daughter, and a mother of daughters, I support the work that World Vision and Plan International are doing to draw attention to the plight of girls in developing countries, such as 14-year-old Kassa from Ethiopia:
It was not voluntary and I became very angry when I heard about. It was a sudden agony to me. I felt I would have no chance for education. My hope for development darkened.
With the help of these charities, girls like Amira have a chance to finish their education.
Please lend your voice so that they can have one of their own:
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Join in taking a stand against child marriage by blogging, tweeting or sharing this post on Facebook.
If you’re a blogger:
- Write about child marriage on your blog in honour of #dayofthegirl, asking your readers to add their voice or sponsor a girl to help put an end to child marriage.
- Add the link code above right to be featured on our website and amplify the call.
- Tweet us at @WorldVisionPR or @KaylaERobertson to let us know.
On twitter and facebook:
- Follow @WorldVisionUK and @WorldVisionPR and World Vision’s facebook page for news and stories on #childmarriage. Share, RT and add your voice
Sponsor a girl:
- Sponsoring a girl provides girls and their communities with education and support to empower them to take a stand against child marriage.
*I am proud to sponsor a child- a girl- with World Vision, and was under no obligation to write this post. But I am a girl, I have girls, and we have so many opportunities that these girls should have.