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Help Child Marriage Survivors Tell Their Stories

by Too Young To Wed, Inc.
Help Child Marriage Survivors Tell Their Stories
Help Child Marriage Survivors Tell Their Stories
Help Child Marriage Survivors Tell Their Stories
Help Child Marriage Survivors Tell Their Stories
Help Child Marriage Survivors Tell Their Stories
Help Child Marriage Survivors Tell Their Stories
Help Child Marriage Survivors Tell Their Stories
Help Child Marriage Survivors Tell Their Stories
Help Child Marriage Survivors Tell Their Stories
Help Child Marriage Survivors Tell Their Stories
Help Child Marriage Survivors Tell Their Stories
Help Child Marriage Survivors Tell Their Stories
Help Child Marriage Survivors Tell Their Stories
Help Child Marriage Survivors Tell Their Stories

Hello Too Young to Wed supporters!

We are so grateful every day for the support of each and every one of you, especially these last few weeks as we have heard from so many following the incredible success of the visit of two of our Nigerian scholarship recipients, former Boko Haram brides Ya Kaka and Hauwa. As we shared in our last report, these brave young women, featured in our 2017 multimedia piece "Child, Bride, Mother: Nigeria," traveled to the United States in March for a series of events in Washington, D.C., and New York City, and were the guests of honor at TYTW’s Inaugural Gala on International Women’s Day.

During their time in Washington, Hauwa and Ya Kaka were welcomed by over three dozen members of Congress at bipartisan events held in both the Senate and House of Representatives. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Susan Collins (R-ME), and Representative Frederica Wilson (D-FL) hosted the girls in their respective Houses and offered them an opportunity to speak directly to our lawmakers, sharing their stories of abduction, escape, loss, and survival, and personalizing the terror that Boko Haram introduced into their lives. During meetings at the Department of State, Ya Kaka and Hauwa were able to provide vital information to staff members working to provide relief to the areas impacted the most – letting these individuals know what services and programs would be the most beneficial to others like themselves.

Hauwa and Ya Kaka’s trip continued in New York City, where they participated in several panel discussions at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women and met with representatives of the United Nations Population Fund and UNICEF. Sharing their stories at these events and in the media, including an interview with PBS Newshour, brings their message to a larger and more global audience, garnering additional support for the efforts needed to help survivors create better lives for themselves. We hope to partner with these organizations to develop programs which will identify the needs of survivors like Ya Kaka and Hauwa and ensure that help is on the way.

We are excited to share that these meetings resulted in the recent introduction of a bipartisan Senate resolution condemning the actions of Boko Haram and urging the United States government to work quickly and effectively to enact measures to defeat Boko Haram and to provide much-needed survivor support to the girls who have suffered so much at their hands. A similar resolution was introduced in the House of Representatives.

TYTW’s mission is to protect girls’ rights and end child marriage. One of the best ways we can accomplish both is by empowering girls to become advocates for themselves and for others like them. Hauwa and Ya Kaka’s visit to the United States was the next step in their journey and, with your help, we can take them even further. We are planning our next Tehani Photo Workshop to take place in Northern Nigeria, where Ya Kaka and Hauwa will act as mentors for other Boko Haram survivors as they experience the healing power of art as therapy, learn coping techniques to manage their trauma, and are empowered to become role models within their communities and in the fight against child marriage.

How can you help? To support Hauwa, Ya Kaka, and the thousands of girls still missing in Nigeria, please contact your representatives to ask that they add their names to the proposed resolutions - let them know they have your support as we seek to get these resolutions passed. And keep TYTW in mind as you plan your charitable giving this spring. With every donation, we move closer to being able to provide our next workshop to deserving girls around the world, and with your help, we are confident that we will soon be reporting from Tehani Photo Workshop #3!

Hauwa and Ya Kaka, two courageous young women who had been abducted by Boko Haram and forced into early marriage and motherhood, arrived in the United States this week and are beginning their journey towards effecting international change through grassroots advocacy.  Their spirit and determination inspire us, and we are thrilled to be honoring them at our inaugural Too Young to Wed gala event, to be held on March 8th, International Women’s Day, in New York City.

We are pleased to share the invitation to our gala with you, our supporters.  This event will be a celebration of girl empowerment, embodied by these brave young women who have traveled across the world to raise their voices and speak out not only against the tragedy of child marriage, but in support of those who continue to be torn from their families, the thousands of girls still missing, and those who have been lucky enough to return home.  We hope to host our next Tehani Photography Workshop with these girls in Northern Nigeria.

We hope you can join us on International Women's Day as we honor Hauwa and Ya Kaka and take another step forward in our fight to end child marriage.  For those who cannot attend, we encourage you to participate in our silent auction.  

As always, we thank you for your support!

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Photo 1

As a bright new year begins, Too Young to Wed (TYTW) would like to thank you for your tremendous support throughout 2017, our biggest year yet for helping child brides share their stories with the world to inspire people everywhere to act to help end early, child, and forced marriage, and to protect girls’ rights.

Back in January 2017, TYTW founder Stephanie Sinclair highlighted the dangerous lives of girls in the developing world as part of National Geographic’s powerful "Gender Revolution" issue.  Her photo of nine-year-old Aarti from the series was named as one of the magazine’s Best Pictures of 2017.  That same month, The New York Times featured our groundbreaking transmedia project on Nigerian teens who had escaped captivity and forced marriage at the hands of Boko Haram.

TYTW’s devotion to advocacy through storytelling continued throughout the year in global publications and a variety of film festivals and photography exhibits, the largest being the inaugural exhibition in the new gallery space atop Paris’ Grande Arche de la Defense.  For four months, the awe-inspiring gallery showcased larger-than-life TYTW prints, including one of three Boko Hara survivors, which hung like massive tapestry from the ceiling, giving the girls an inescapable presence in the room.  Several TYTW images are also part of an exciting new exhibition called Women Photograph Women, which opened at the end of December at the Centro Internazionale di Fotografia in Palermo, Italy.

In August, Sinclair and several TYTW supporters traveled to Maralal, Kenya, for our second Tehani Photo Workshop, named for an eight-year-old bride in Yemen.  The five-day workshop, generously supported this year by our friends at Canon USA, provides child marriage survivors an opportunity to learn basic documentary photography skills, and also helps girls acquire tools to manage their trauma, express themselves, advocate for girls’ rights, and become mentors in subsequent workshops and in their communities.

In November, images shot by participants and mentors from this year’s workshop were included in the month-long World Press Photo exhibit in Washington, D.C., sponsored by Lightscape D.C.  The exhibition also included several of Sinclair’s TYTW images from her 2017 International Women’s Media Foundation’s Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award.  The workshop participants’ stories were also featured in The New York TimesRefinery29, and National Geographic's Instagram page, reaching tens of millions of viewers worldwide as the year concluded.

Your generous support also funded TYTW’s outreach program, which included renewing educational scholarships for girls in Nepal and Kenya, and founding new ones in Nigeria.

We are thrilled to share the news that two of our scholarship recipients, Hauwa and Ya Kaka, who were also featured in last year’s NYT piece, will be traveling to the U.S. in March for a series of events that will culminate in TYTW’s first gala, celebrating their courage in speaking out about their experiences and their dedication to creating better lives for themselves.  Prior to the gala, the girls will meet in Washington, D.C., with all 22 women of the U.S. Senate to share their stories, and then, while in New York City, they will participate in several panels at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.  We are so excited for them to see part of the United States and to bravely use their voices on behalf of the thousands of other girls like themselves, many of whom remain trapped in marriages they cannot escape. 

We cannot stress it enough: TYTW’s wildly successful year, and the exciting events that we have planned for this year, would not be possible without your support.  We deeply appreciate your efforts to help us empower these brave young women and the thousands of girls just like them around the world.

If you are looking for charitable giving options in this new year, please consider keeping Too Young to Wed in your plans to help us protect girls’ rights and end child marriage. 

Wishing you a happy and healthy 2018!

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Photo 2
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Photo 3
NYT
NYT

Dear Friend of Too Young to Wed,

We appreciate every dollar donated to us through the generosity of people like you.  Your support has allowed us to wake the world up to the tragedy of child marriage, which affects 1 in 3 girls in countries in the developing world, and provide much-needed assistance to girls escaping from or threatened by this and other harmful practices.

Unfortunately, we were unable to reach our fundraising goal through our initial campaign. Happily, however, our corporate sponsors stepped in to help us complete our 2017 goals, including our friends at Canon, who closed the funding gap by sponsoring our second photography workshop in Kenya this past summer. 

This latest workshop brought together 18 teenage girls, all survivors of child marriage, in an empowering retreat setting where they worked together telling their own stories, overcoming trauma, and learning skills to become tomorrow’s leaders in the fight for girls’ rights.  They were then able to take these skills back to their communities and share them with others, furthering our reach and allowing us, through these amazing young women, to influence an even greater number of girls to gain confidence and the knowledge that they are all valuable members of their communities.

For a closer look at how your hard-earned dollars are being used, I urge you to spend a few minutes watching our powerful short film from the workshop:  Tehani Photo Workshop 2017.

So that we can continue offering these life-changing workshops for the brave young survivors of child marriage, we will keep our GlobalGiving campaign open in the coming months.  We’re currently planning two new photography workshops in 2018, providing additional women and girls the opportunity to learn a skill, discover how to express themselves, gain the tools necessary to manage their trauma, and advocate for themselves and others like them.

We are also extremely excited to share the news that Too Young to Wed will be sponsoring a visit to the United States by two escapees of the militant Islamist group Boko Haram. During International Women’s Month this March, Hawa and Yakaka will participate in a week of events designed to celebrate their courage and determination to tell the world their stories.  In Washington D.C. they will have the opportunity to meet with all twenty-one women US Senators and several US Congresswomen to share their experiences.  Afterwards, the girls will travel to New York City, where they will be the featured guests at Too Young to Wed’s Inaugural Annual Gala.

Other noteworthy events that occurred this year include having ten of the girls’ workshop photographs selected to be part of the prestigious World Press Photo exhibition, currently on display through November 26 at Washington, D.C.’s DuPont Underground.  Our friends at Canon also recently presented the girls’ images in a lovely display at the PhotoPlus World Expo in New York City.  These amazing opportunities bring additional awareness to the tragedy of child marriage and the work Too Young to Wed and our partner organizations are doing to improve their lives.

Too Young to Wed was also recently featured in the New York Times’ article "Empowering Girls Rescued From Child Marriage," and has appeared numerous times on the Instagram feeds of National Geographic, which reaches almost 83 million followers, World Press Photo, reaching nearly 1 million, and the Photo Society, which has a following of 5 million.

To keep abreast of all our activities at TYTW please click HERE to be subscribed to our newsletter.

AND DON’T FORGET: next Tuesday, November 28, is #GivingTuesday, when all gifts made to our campaign to end child marriage will be matched by Global Giving! Please consider making a gift and sharing your support for our initiative.

Thank you for your past support and continued interest in our work!  We wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday surrounded by family and people you love!

Warmest regards,

Stephanie Sinclair

Founder & Executive Director

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Photo Plus
Nat Geo
Nat Geo
Child, Bride, Mother: Nigeria
Child, Bride, Mother: Nigeria

Greetings Too Young To Wed supporters!

Thanks to you and people like you, we have made tremendous progress towards meeting our funding goal. While we still have room to go, we wanted to take moment to thank you all for helping us turn child brides into community leaders. We’d also like to share with you, our most recent multimedia project and how it ties into our Adolescent Girls Photography Workshops.

Last week, Too Young To Wed published Child, Bride, Mother: Nigeria, our newest multimedia piece, created in collaboration with the Ford Foundation and the New York Times Sunday Review.

Three years after 276 schoolgirls in Northern Nigeria were abducted by separatist militants, Boko Haram, the global call-to-action "Bring Back Our Girls" has all but disappeared from social media as the public's interest waned.

But it's now become clear that the Chibok abductions were just one instance of a profoundly disturbing tactic: child marriage used as a weapon of war -- a practice that has lead to the kidnapping of some 25,000 girls in the region.

Our presentation includes photographs and personal statements from formerly kidnapped girls, now returned to an uncertain life in urban Nigeria; and culminates with a short film highlighting one girl's harrowing journey.

And for a deeper look at the issue, don’t miss TYTW founder, Stephanie Sinclair’s interview with National Public Radio.

So, how does this story tie in with our Adolescent Girls Photography Workshops? We are thrilled to announce that we are in the process of planning a workshop for late 2017 with the girls featured in this project.

As you know, your generous donations to this project are helping to fund the planning and implementation of our next workshop in Samburu, Kenya this August. But, did you know that the curriculum we’re developing for Kenya will also be used in Nigeria? Now that’s some bang for your buck.

No matter where our workshop is held, the goal is the same: graduates will have tools to manage their personal trauma and newfound confidence to serve as role models for other girls -- and as leaders, not outcasts, girls can mobilize their communities to end child marriage.

We at Too Young To Wed thank you for your continued support in helping us reach our funding goal, and in turn, reach girls who are more than just a commodity.

Please invite your friends and family to make a donation today.

Thank you,

Stephanie & the Too Young To Wed team  

Photo Caption: Dada, 14, holds her 18-month-old daughter Hussaina at their home, where she lives with her mother. Dada was abducted with her older sister when she was just 10 years old, and forced to wed a Boko Haram insurgent. “We gathered under a tree and married,” Dada told me last November. "I felt like a living ghost,” she said. "I was not afraid to escape, being alive in that camp was already the worst thing that could happen to me.”

Child, Bride, Mother: Nigeria
Child, Bride, Mother: Nigeria
 

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Organization Information

Too Young To Wed, Inc.

Location: Peekskill, NY - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @https://www.facebook.com/TooYoungtoWed/
Project Leader:
Bryan Hoben
Mohegan Lake, NY United States
$25,192 raised of $50,000 goal
 
476 donations
$24,808 to go
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