“I tried to run away but my mother said she would kill herself if I did not marry him.” BBC East Africa correspondent Will Ross meets child brides in Ethiopia, alongside Elders Desmond Tutu, Mary Robinson and Gro Brundtland.
BBC News, Amhara
“I wanted to get an education but my parents were determined to marry me off,” says Himanot Yehewala, an Ethiopian girl who was married five years ago at the age of 13.
“I tried to run away but my mother said she would kill herself if I did not marry him.”
“I was not mature physically or emotionally so it was not easy for me to go and sleep with my husband.”
She had never met her bridegroom, 18-year-old Gedefaw Mengistu, before their wedding day.
“I knew she was too young. I was in grade five but my father died and I was forced to stop school, get married and keep the family going,” Mr Gedefaw told the BBC.
The couple live in Ethiopia’s Amhara Region – an impoverished rural farming area where half of all girls are married before they turn 15.
“It’s quite shattering to have met people who were married off,” Archbishop Desmond Tutu told the BBC on a visit to the area.
“In one case the husband was eight and the supposed wife was seven. I mean you want to say it’s abominable,” he said.
Read the full BBC story here
In the time it has taken to read this article 14 girls under the age of 18 have been married
Each year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18
That is 23 girls every minute
Nearly 1 every 3 seconds