Nada Al-Ahdal, a young Yemeni girl rebels against her parents, who would like to give her in marriage to an adult stranger. Nada has made her call for help on Youtube where her message has already been seen by over five million people in just a couple of days.
The words of Nada have the taste of simplicity and the most severe rebukes of children towards the horrors of the adult world, but at the same time they are a proud claim of her determination to fight against the decision of her parents:
“What happened to the innocence of childhood? What did girls do try? I tried to solve my problems, but not all children succeed. So then they can just die or commit suicide, or do whatever goes through their head at that moment. They are just children: they have no time to study, they don’t have time to do anything. I’m not the only one, there are many more like me. And I would rather die than get married. To my family I said that I’ve finished with them, they ruined all my dreams. ”
But it is not enough, because Nada also raises a lot of demanding questions to adults, questions that legislators should try to answer, clergy and atheists who support the idea of morality in allowing an elderly adult male to be entitled to buy a child bride from a poor family.
We talk every day about how important it is to respect religions, cultures, and habits of other people and we try to teach this to our children. But it is absurd to tolerate this violence.
Stories of girls taken away at night from the houses of their games and put in bed with men, some of them even elderly. Child brides, perhaps with the financial peace of mind that they did not have before, but still violated on the threshold of life.
In most cases, these girls do not want to get married. They want a normal life. They want to play with their friends, they want to receive a complete education and to have a full and free adolescence. These marriages undress so many girls of their innocence often before puberty, and this is intolerable in a global society such as ours. These marriages are not only harmful to the children involved but they are at the root of so many other social problems: poverty, disease, maternal mortality, infant mortality, violence against women. They are all different consequences and manifestations connected to the same evil. Solving the problem of early and forced marriages will also benefit these other issues.
A multifaceted approach to addressing the issue of child marriage is needed, and education is remains the best defense. This means supporting these children so that they can go to school as long as possible, as well as educating communities about the harmful impact of early marriage on the health of their daughters, their grandchildren, and their society as a whole.
“The rights of girls and young women should be put at the center of the development agenda,” says Anju Malhotra, head of Gender Rights and UNICEF. “The United Nations and its partners are working together to show the incredible progress made and to highlight the ongoing challenges.” In order to draw attention to this problem that has sadly spread to many countries of the world and, above all, to accelerate the disappearance of the practice of early marriage, UNICEF launched in March, the campaign “My life, my right, the end of early marriage. ”