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Girls Fund update

Radha

These girls are changing lives

And they're doing it with your support

Thank you for being at the forefront of the fight against child marriage. Because of you, today there are girls across the world who are at school who otherwise wouldn’t be. They can make their own decisions, pursue their dreams and shape their own futures. 

Child marriage remains one of the biggest threats to girls’ lives – tragically over 14 million girls still become trapped in poverty-stricken, abusive marriages every year – but with your support, we have projects around the world that are changing attitudes, changing laws and changing lives.

At the heart of that work are the inspiring and courageous youth campaigners who work tirelessly to shine a spotlight on child marriage. Many have experienced the devastating effects of the practice first-hand and are now determined to stop other girls having to go through what they did.

Royce, Youth Campaigner, Zambia

Royce

Royce was just 15 when her aunt took her to her new husband’s home and was told to stay there. “I did not want him. I refused to sleep with him.”

After four desperate years of marriage and becoming a mother, Royce found the strength to leave her husband. She’s overcome years of abuse, returned to school and is determined to fulfil her and her daughter’s ambitions for the future.

Thanks to her bravery – and your generosity – Royce has met girls across Zambia, talked passionately about their rights and the importance of staying in school. With your support, she won’t rest until child marriage is banned in Zambia.

Amrita, Youth Campaigner, Nepal

Amrita

Ending child marriage is a cause close to Amrita’s heart because at just 16 she very nearly became a child bride herself. Thankfully, Amrita had learned about the dangers of child marriage at a life-skills course organised by Plan International in her village. Empowered by the course, she was able to convince her parents to refuse the proposal.

Having come so close to losing her freedom, Amrita decided she would do everything she could to give girls the same opportunities she enjoys. Supported by Plan International, she travelled to Kathmandu to address a national conference on girls’ education, and also became a key member of our Young Women’s Organisation. This courageous girl has already changed lives for the better – but she couldn’t have done it without your help.

Mayra, Youth Campaigner, Guatemala

Mayra

Thanks to a scholarship from Plan International she was able to continue her studies and now runs her own business. After learning about her rights through the Because I am Girl movement, she also become an activist and successfully lobbied the Guatemalan government to have the legal age of marriage raised to 18 years.

“If you have a goal, make it a part of your life until you reach it”, said Mayra at the beginning of her speech. She went on to encourage young people to believe in themselves so that the impossible could become possible: "When I was 16 I was named a spokesperson for the Because I am Girl movement and I’ve realised how goals can be achieved."

Radha, Youth Campaigner, Bangladesh

Radha

Radha was just 14 years old when her father died and her uncles tried to force her to marry a stranger, ten years her senior. “I lost everything, my father, my rights, my future.”

Radha fought hard stop the marriage. She was locked up by family members and viciously beaten, but still refused to give in. Eventually Radha’s uncles gave up trying to force her into marriage.

Since then Radha hasn’t stopped working to highlight the plight of child brides in her country. She is one of Bangladesh’s ‘Wedding Busters’ – an incredible group of Plan International volunteers who have already stopped over 220 child marriages in their community.

How we’re ending child marriage