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13, and a bride: Mariama’s story

Mariama’s story was kindly shared by our member Plan International

In Dosso, Niger 13-year-old Mariama has just discovered that she will be married in a few days’ time. Mariama’s mother was worried that her daughter would have a child out of wedlock and then no one would marry her so she accepted 100,00 CFA (200 USD) as a dowry from a local market trader in his mid-20s.

“I’ve been sad since I found I was getting married”, Mariama tells Plan, “I can’t eat. At night I can’t sleep because that’s all I think about. I don’t even go outside anymore because I feel everyone is looking at me, as a new bride.”

Mariama’s mother explains: “In our Touareg tradition, we don’t tell girls that they are to be married. They just find out the day it happens (…)  I got married when I was 10 years old. And when they took me to the man, my husband, I thought he was my father (…) I really regret what is happening, but you have to understand me. I am a widow – my husband is dead. Even if I didn’t have anyone to feed, at night Im always thinking ‘What am I going to eat tomorrow?'”

Watch the full video here.

Learn more about Plan’s work in Niger