Girls' Education

This ‘burden’ said no to child marriage, and demanded an education instead.

 

It was all arranged, even the dowry.

After she completed her primary education, Lutfa, now 17, had to drop out of school to help her family with the housework. And yet, they still saw her as a burden -- just another mouth to feed, a girl who couldn’t bring value to the family.

“I was broken inside, as my dream to educate myself remained unfulfilled, and on top of that, I started to doubt my abilities to change my life.”

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They expected her to stay home until she got married. She chose school instead.

 

As the oldest daughter of a poor family in a rural Indian farming community, Laxmi, age 12, was destined to do housework, watch after her four younger siblings and marry at age 14.

But she knew she was worth more than that.

by Razan, 20-year-old Syrian refugee girl living in Jordan: I remember this time last year well. I was in Syria, and I was happy. This might sound strange, I know. 

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When I arrived in Jordan to meet with Syrian refugees, I knew I would hear gripping stories of families fleeing violence that would also reveal how Syria’s civil war has impacted girls. 

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Last week, I traveled to Jordan to meet with Syrian refugees. I knew I was about to hear gripping stories of families fleeing violence and destruction. I also knew that I'd see firsthand how Syria's civil war has impacted girls. What I didn't know was how poignant one girl's story in particular would be. Her name is Hanan.

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She just became the most educated person in her family.

 

Orphaned at age 13, Jenifer was raised by her aunts, whom she affectionately calls her “other mothers.” They’re subsistence farmers who live in a tiny mud-brick home with Jenifer and her sister.  

But Jenifer, now 19, just passed her university entrance exams, one of 1,909 students selected from 11,539 applicants.

For a girl with untapped potential, child marriage could end her life before it starts.

 

Angie is 13 and lives in a one-bedroom house with her family in Honduras.

Her mother works long hours as the family’s sole breadwinner. Her father, her mother’s third of four husbands, was murdered. Her step-sisters got pregnant at a young age and they and their children live with Angie and her mother. Angie is in charge of all the cooking and cleaning.

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In a country overwhelmed by refugee children, the schools had no room for her.

 

Hanan, age 8, lives in a Jordanian slum with her mother and four siblings.

They’re refugees from Syria’s brutal civil war, forced to leave their home after a bomb killed their father as he sold vegetables in the street, and debris from another blast injured one of their younger brothers.

I work for the Atlanta-headquartered humanitarian organization CARE. My job title is “Staff Writer” but, in reality, I’m as much of a finder as I am a writer. I find CARE program participants who want to talk about their experience with CARE, and connect these individuals with the people who support our work, or will support our work when they learn about what we do.

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