Thank you for your contribution to ending early marriage for girls in Afghanistan. You are enabling young Afghan girls to go through Sahar's Early Marriage Prevention Program - to learn their rights and to stay in school longer.
According to recent data from the UN Population Fund, nearly 57 percent of girls in Afghanistan are married before the legal age of 16. Our schools in Balkh Province serve a mixture of cultural groups who all participate in the customs of early marriage for various reasons: bringing money into poverty-stricken families, bride exchange, child engagement and “honor” situations. All of these practices contribute to girls dropping out before finishing secondary school.
This problem directly affects millions of girls in a country with one of the youngest populations in the world: 63 percent of Afghanistan’s population is under age 24. Girls face greater risks than boys of failure to continue their educations through secondary school. Girls’ schools continue to be targeted by violent extremists and there continues to be a stigma against girls’ education in the country where the Taliban very recently outlawed education for girls. Through Sahar’s work we combat many of these issues, but we continued to see a dropoff in girl students in our programs around the age of 12 to 13, when many girls begin to be forced into early marriage and their husbands or parents encourage them to drop out of school. So, we developed our Early Marriage Prevention intiaitve to address this issue.
Early marriage, especially when it leads to cutting girls’ education short leads to serious consequences.
Freshta, one of the female Afghan teacher liaisons who co-developped the curriculum and runs the program, shared thoughts at a recent graduation event for students who had completed the program: "I am so happy to be here and help you to increase your knowledge about leadership and especially to encourage you in the prevention of early marriage. We all know in Afghanistan that girls and women face a lot of problems and that women don't know about their rights in their family and in their communities. We all know that many girls are victims of early and forced marriage, it's a big problem in our country, but it's my job and your job to increase our knowledge about our rights and continue to fight for our education. We will not accept to get married under the legal age and we will fight against this problem together. Our victory is in our unity on this matter. I want all of you girls, to carry this message to your family, friends and other classmates. Teach them all of the things that you learn in this course. It's your responsibility."
Thank you for your support to end early marriage for girls in Afghanistan. Your contribution helps improve the lives of thousands.
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