One woman’s photography and the fight to end child marriage

One woman’s photography and the fight to end child marriage

Join

Join the fight against extreme poverty

Every two seconds, a girl is forced to marry against her will—yet another reason why poverty is sexist. The younger the bride, the more likely she will experience domestic violence, contract HIV, develop complications from pregnancies, or even die during childbirth. Child brides are robbed of the potential and education they deserve, preventing them from achieving their fullest potential.

Stephanie Sinclair, photojournalist and Founder/Executive Director of Too Young To Wed, is on a mission to change this phenomenon. The organization’s mission is to provide visual evidence of the human rights challenges facing women and girls. Too Young to Wed supports local organizations making a difference in the lives of the children who are affected by the harmful practice of child marriage. By documenting the harsh realities of child marriage, Stephanie is raising awareness and affecting policy and change through photography. The photos below are visually beautiful, and yet tragic and wrong.

Captions and photos provided by Stephanie Sinclair.

"Whenever I saw him, I hid. I hated to see him," Tahani (in pink) recalls of the early days of her marriage to Majed, when she was 6 and he was 25. The young wife posed for this portrait with former classmate Ghada, also a child bride, outside their mountain home in Hajjah. Nearly half of all women in Yemen were married as children. Every year, throughout the world, millions of young girls are forced into marriage. Child marriage is outlawed in many countries and international agreements forbid the practice yet this tradition still spans continents, language, religion and caste.

“Whenever I saw him, I hid. I hated to see him,” Tahani (in pink) recalls of the early days of her marriage to Majed, when she was 6 and he was 25. The young wife posed for this portrait with former classmate Ghada, also a child bride, outside their mountain home in Hajjah. Nearly half of all women in Yemen were married as children. Every year, throughout the world, millions of young girls are forced into marriage. Child marriage is outlawed in many countries and international agreements forbid the practice yet this tradition still spans continents, language, religion, and caste.

 

Rajni, 5, is seen just after waking up before her wedding ceremony in Rajasthan, India on April 28, 2009.

Rajni, 5, is seen just after waking up before her wedding ceremony in Rajasthan, India, on April 28, 2009.

 

Family members place a white cloth over the head of Leyualem, 14, as she is prepared to be wisked away on a mule by her new groom and groomsmen in the Amhara Region, Ethiopia on May 23, 2007. Leyualem had never met her husband before her wedding day, yet sumitted as they bound her in the white wedding cloth. The men later said it was placed over her head so she would not be able to find her way back home, should she want to escape the marriage.

Family members place a white cloth over the head of Leyualem, 14, as she is prepared to be whisked away on a mule by her new groom and groomsmen in the Amhara Region, Ethiopia on May 23, 2007. Leyualem had never met her husband before her wedding day, yet submitted as they bound her in the white wedding cloth. The men later said it was placed over her head so she would not be able to find her way back home, should she want to escape the marriage.

 

Leyualem Mucha, 14, is wisked away on a mule by her new groom and groomsmen in the Amhara Region, Ethiopia on May 23, 2007. Leyualem had never met her husband before her wedding day, yet sumitted as they bound her in the white wedding cloth. The men later said it was placed over her head so she would not be able to find her way back home, should she want to escape the marriage.

Leyualem Mucha, 14, is whisked away on a mule by her new groom and groomsmen in the Amhara Region, Ethiopia, on May 23, 2007.

 

A teenager breast feeds her baby in a rural area outside Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, Aug. 16, 2010. Her husband was maimed shortly after they were married and her lack of education means she must live with her family indefinitely.

A teenager breast-feeds her baby in a rural area outside Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, Aug. 16, 2010. Her husband was maimed shortly after they were married and her lack of education means she must live with her family indefinitely.

 

Young girls sit inside a home outside of Al Hudaydah, Yemen. Feb. 9, 2010. Yemen's women's rights groups agree that child marriage is rampant in every part of Yemeni society.

Young girls sit inside a home outside of Al Hudaydah, Yemen, Feb. 9, 2010. Yemen’s women’s rights groups agree that child marriage is rampant in every part of Yemeni society.

 

Portraits Nujoud Ali, two years after her divorce - when she was only eight years old - from her husband, more than 20 years her senior. Nujoud's story sent shock waves around the country and caused parliament to consider a bill writing a minimum marriage age into law.

Nujoud Ali, two years after her divorce – when she was only eight years old – from her husband, more than 20 years her senior. Nujoud’s story sent shockwaves around the country and caused parliament to consider a bill writing a minimum marriage age into law.

 

Ways you can help:

  • Share the facts about child marriage and this post through social media #tooyoungtowed #endchildmarriage
  • Volunteer your skills and collaborate with TYTW. For opportunities, email [email protected]
  • Sign the petition to hold leaders accountable for the well-being of girls around the world

Through September 20 Until midnight September 22, Too Young To Wed is hosting a limited edition print sale with 100% of print sales supporting the organizations mission to protect girls’ rights and end child marriage. A few of the local organizations that benefit from this work include:

  • The Samburu Girls Foundation, a grassroots organization in rural Kenya, which provides shelter and education to girls rescued from child marriage, female genital mutilation and other harmful practices.
  • The women and children of the Kagati Village in Nepal, an area that was destroyed in the recent earthquakes;
  • Girl Empowerment Groups, an adolescent girls empowerment initiative designed for vulnerable girls living in rural areas of Ethiopia.

To support girls’ rights and Too Young to Wed, visit tooyoungtowed.org/printsale.

 

Join the Conversation

Comment Guidelines