Khadija's story was kindly shared by our member Girl Up.
Khadija is a shy 15-year-old girl living in Mangochi, a southern province in Malawi. A year ago, Khadija’s older sister agreed to sell her to a much older man, a sheikh from the local area.
Khadija protested because she loves school and wanted to continue her education, but her sister refused to change her mind.
Just before Khadija was forced to marry, her older brother intervened. He went to one of the teachers at Khadija’s school who had been trained in issues of girls’ rights by the Youth Net and Counseling Organization (YONECO) and asked for help.
The teacher, the brother and YONECO worked together to prevent Khadija from a forced, early marriage. They were successful — Khadija is still in school and getting ready for exams!
Not all girls in Khadija’s situation are this fortunate. And not every brother is willing — or brave enough — to take action. In Malawi, half of all girls are married by 18.
In the time it has taken to read this article 10 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