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Afghan activist Sonita Alizadeh named Girls Not Brides champion to end child marriage

Sonita Alizadeh at the 2016 Women in the World festival. Photo credit: Women in the World, courtesy of Strongheart Group.

We are thrilled to announce that Sonita Alizadeh, the young Afghan woman who made international headlines by singing her way out of child marriage, has become a champion for Girls Not Brides and will use her voice to advance global efforts to end child marriage.

With a poet’s soul and an activist’s passion, Sonita Alizadeh uses her rap lyrics and powerful voice to address child marriage. She was born in Afghanistan but grew up a refugee in Iran where she faced forced marriage while still a child. In an effort to express her pain and share the experience of friends also being forced into marriage, she wrote “Daughters for sale” and created a homemade video. The song caught the world’s attention and has been viewed over half a million times.

Sonita said: “I am honoured to be a Girls Not Brides champion. As one, I am asking politicians, families and traditional leaders to help girls fulfil their potential.” She added: “We must work with families, in communities, and even with religious leaders to change the tradition of child marriage. Families need to learn new ways and see that there are other possibilities for their daughters.”

Girls Not Brides champions are influential advocates who have the ability to raise awareness of child marriage-related issues with people at key moments at the national, regional or international levels. They can open doors which would otherwise be shut; they can be a strong voice in the media; they can inspire our members and other civil society groups and show they are not alone in working to end the practice of child marriage.

In addition to Sonita, Girls Not Brides has two other champions: Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Mrs Graca Machel, who both co-founded the Global Partnership to End Child Marriage. Find out more about our champions.