This poem was originally posted on World Pulse, a media network powered by women from 190 countries that lifts and unites women’s voices to accelerate their impact for the world. World Pulse is a member of Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage.
At 12, She wakes up at dawn to fetch and clean;
Before she struggles to prepare the family meal.
At 12, Her tender back is bent from the load she struggles with;
A weight heavier than her, but she carries it still.
At 12, Her hands are chafed from scraping the char off the pot;
The black coal more natural on her, she bothers not to wash.
At 12, Her worry lines are deeply etched in;
The trials and pains her mother bore are now her cross to carry.
At 12, She has already felt the harsh blow of her husbands' fist;
As she continually fails in her service to him.
At 12, Her feet are used to the sun burnt path to the water hole;
As to it she trudges day and night in duty to provide for her family.
At 12, Her waist has carried the burden of life;
And she loses more of her essence with each strife.
At 12, My mother carries me in her womb;
And I wonder at my fate as a girl coming into her world.
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