“We cannot improve the lives of the poorest and most marginalised women and girls until the impact of child marriage is addressed directly and openly—and we make a commitment to ending it.”— Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former Brazilian President Fernando Hernrique Cardosa
As these two global leaders state, the effects of children being married off—some as young as 6 years old—are catastrophic to individuals and detrimental to entire societies.
Child brides are likely to grow up in poverty, not attend school and be at a higher risk of HIV/AIDS and death during childbirth.
If laws and practices do not change, in the next decade 100 million more girls will become child brides.
(Don't believe that's possible? Don't think 100 million can be saved? Skip to the video below.)
The Elders, an independent group of global leaders who have come together to support peace building, address major causes of human suffering and promote the shared interests of humanity, are forging a global alliance to end child marriage.
There is, in fact, compelling evidence that child marriage has been a major brake on progress toward no less than six of the eight MDGs. Our hopes of reducing child and maternal mortality, combating HIV/Aids and achieving universal primary education are damaged by the fact that one in seven girls in the developing world—and it is overwhelmingly girls who suffer this fate—are married before they reach 15.
Kidan is one of these girls. The Girl Effect captures her story: