One of the things I love most about travelling is learning about different cultures and traditions. I try to travel with an open heart and mind, seeking positive, enriching experiences.
But every now and again, as is inevitable, I come across things that I don’t agree with. While I have learnt that it is not right to judge too quickly, especially about things that I have little understanding of and in cultures that are far removed from my own, some things in this world are simply wrong.
A little girl in India
One of the most exciting countries I have ever visited is India and I dearly long to go back there but there were things that I came across that I found hard to understand.
For the last ten years or so I have sponsored a girl there through the UK branch of the international children’s charity, Plan. She has now turned 18 and my sponsorship ends but knowing that, with Plan’s support, she has had an education and has not been coerced into a childhood marriage is a great reward. Not every girl is that lucky.
Nargis in Bangladesh
Nargis used to dream of becoming a teacher. Now 19 and a mother twice over, she has had to rethink her life.
“I was studying in grade 8 when child marriage shattered all my dreams,” Nargis explains “There was no scope to say no.” Like many girls in her country, she was only 16 when her parents arranged for her to marry an older man, even though child marriage is illegal.
It is estimated that as many as two-thirds of girls in Bangladesh are married before the legal minimum age of 18, and many before they are even 16. Part of the problem is that many don’t have birth certificates, so the law cannot be enforced. Plan are working with local authorities to issue birth certificates to help prevent child marriage in the future.
Help bring an end to child marriage
Plan works in 50 of the world’s poorest countries to stop harmful practices like child marriage. By talking to girls, their families and community leaders they are raising awareness about girls’ rights enabling girls to stand up and claim their rights.
One in three girls in the developing world will be married by their 18th birthday. Child marriage robs girls of their childhood and often their chance of an education. It increases the risk of experiencing violence and abuse. And childbirth is the leading cause of death for girls aged between 15 and 19 in the developing world. Their young bodies are simply not ready.
Thanks to Plan many girls’ stories now have a happy ending
but there are many more who still need our support.
Get the ring
Wedding rings are a symbol of love and unity. But girls who are subjected to child marriage face a life of isolation; they are denied their rights, their choices and their freedom.
When you donate, Plan will send you an exclusive ring as a thank you. Wear this ring and show your support for child brides and girls at risk of child marriage.
Wear it. Share it. End it.
Give child marriage the finger, take a selfie and share it online: #endchildmarriage