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Girls Not Brides members win big at the STARS foundation’s awards

The Girls' Legacy, courtesy of the STARS Foundation

These Girls Not Brides members have reason to celebrate. They’ve won the With And For Girls awards, which celebrate groups working to improve girls’ lives around the world. Winners receive up to $50,000 each to support their work.

Girls United for Human Rights, Pakistan

Hadiqa Bashir was seven years old when one of her friends was engaged to marry. Celebrations quickly gave way to a darker reality as her friend was banned from going to school, and started to show bruises on her body.

Hadiqa knew that she had to stop this happening to other girls. When her family tried to marry her off, Hadiqa refused.

She went on to found Girls United for Human Rights, a girl-led organisation that works with schools to educate and empower girls to prevent child marriage and violence.

Hadiqa teaches other girls about the danger of child marriage, and their rights to a life free from violence. Credit: Girls United for Human Rights, courtesy of the STARS Foundation

Samburu Girls Foundation, Kenya

In the Samburu community of northern Kenya, marrying before the age of 15 is common. Five out of every seven girls are married before that age, sometimes as young as eight.

The Samburu Girls Foundation educates and offers shelter to vulnerable girls in rural areas. This girl-led foundation works with families and communities to help girls stay in school.

Samburu Girls Foundation empowers girls to achieve their full potential. Credit: Samburu Girls Foundation, courtesy of the STARS Foundation

The Girls’ Legacy, Zimbabwe

Poverty, lack of education and social norms make child marriage the only option for many girls in Zimbabwe. 1 in 3 girls is married before 18.

The Girls’ Legacy builds girls and young women’s capacity though mentoring, leadership development and sexual health education. They also offer pregnancy care.

With the right support, girls can advocate for a safe, happy, healthy life for themselves. Credit: The Girls’ Legacy, courtesy of the STARS Foundation

Forum des Femmes Autochtones du Cameroun, Cameroon

In Cameroon, child marriage is far from unusual.

Around 1 in 3 girls marry before the age of 18, and girls from the Mbororo community are especially at risk.

The Forum des Femmes Autochtones du Cameroun (FFAC), or Cameroon Indigenous Women Forum, counsels survivors of gender-based violence and gives them temporary shelter, access to education and health facilities.

Forum des Femmes Autochtones du Cameroun, courtesy of the STARS Foundation

Feminist Approach to Technology, India

In India, many people believe that women and technology do not mix.

Girls are often seen as inferior to boys. Many people believe girls are not worth educating because they will ‘only’ grow up to become wives and mothers.

Almost half of girls in India are married before 18.

Feminist Approach to Technology tackles harmful gender stereotypes by training girls in technology, giving workshops on women’s rights, and supporting girls to enter male-dominated fields.

Feminist Approach to Technology, courtesy of the STARS Foundation

The With And For Girls Awards also recognised the work of three other organisations working to end child marriage.

Doveriye, Russia

­­­­­­For too many girls and women in Russia, domestic violence, forced and early marriage and honour killings are a part of life.

Doveriye, meaning trust, is on a mission to change this.

Through Doveriye, girls meet twice a week in a safe space, and take part in interactive workshops on human rights, leadership and career skills.

Doveriye, courtesy of the STARS Foundation

The National Federation of Women’s Communities of Kyrgyzstan, Kyrgyzstan

“Bride kidnapping” is common in Kyrgyzstan, with around 12,000 women and girls being kidnapped for marriage very year. In rural areas as many as 80% of marriages happen through kidnapping.

A group of girls founded The Federation to address child marriage, bride kidnapping and gender-based violence. They lobby against harmful traditional practices in their communities, and teach girls the skills for a healthy, active and independent life.

The National Federation of Women’s Communities of Kyrgyzstan, courtesy of the STARS Foundation

Congratulations to all the winners. Keep up the great work!