- All Countries
In a few months, my niece, Alyssa, turns 11. Already, she’s considered old enough for marriage — and motherhood — in some parts of the world. She’s just a little girl. Alyssa doesn’t even know algebra. She hasn’t yet experienced the wonders (and/or horrors) of middle school.
But if she had been born in some African, Asian or Latin American countries, Alyssa might be preparing for a wedding instead of her first cheerleading competition.
Yeah, it’s a pretty disturbing thought.
Child marriage is a real concern in some of the countries where CI works. India, Zambia and the Dominican Republic are three of the top 20 countries with the highest rates of child marriage. One in seven girls worldwide becomes a child bride, often marrying an older man she doesn’t know.
But CI — along with a ton of other amazing human rights organizations — is working to change these sobering statistics! The United Nations designated Oct. 11 as International Day of the Girl Child to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges they face worldwide.
CI is working to help empower girls and change their futures through several programs:
Our efforts to educate and empower young girls can have a long-lasting effect in their communities and their families. When a girl in the developing world gets at least seven years of education, she typically marries four years later and has two fewer children. Educated women also experience less violence, are more likely to make more money and have healthier children once they do decide to become moms.
And if there’s only one thing I want for girls like my niece, it’s that they realize they are the ones who control their own futures. Girls should have the opportunities to live the lives they choose to lead — not the lives they are born into.