At a time when they should be fully entrenched in secondary education and preparing for their future, a sizable chunk of girls in developing countries are instead forced into marriage.
Nearly one-third of all girls in developing countries are married off before their 18th birthday, while one in nine are married before they turn 15.
The reasons behind child marriages vary from house to house. In some cases, a lack of resources to support, educate or meet the girl’s needs prompts child marriage. In others, it's due to a promise made upon the birth of the girl to a relative, or the exchange of children in marriage.
A video jointly put together by UNICEF and Bridal Musings depicts the sad reality of child marriages.
The child bride used in the video is from a “Western” background, thus promoting the concept of equal rights for girls around the world.
To promote the cause, UNICEF has also launched the UNFPA-UNICEF Global Program to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage, which will reach out to 6 million girls from across 12 countries in the world. The program aims at stopping marriages of underage girls, while helping others who are already in wedlock.
It is extremely important to end this practice of child marriages because of the range of threats facing the girls. They receive less education and report lower self-esteem. They're at higher risk of death from pregnancy complication, HIV infection and domestic violence.
Hopefully, the video above will help raise awareness of child marriages, and wake up people to end the horrid practice. Children deserve to be educated and spend time developing their personality and skills rather than having to take care of a house and their own offspring. Every child has a right to enjoy their childhood.