_Cross posted from World Vision’s blog. _
More than 60 percent of Ethiopian girls will be married before they are 17. It’s a startling fact.
But when we see and hear the story of a girl who was forced into marriage when she was just 14 years old, statistics are transformed from mere numbers to a face. To a voice. To reality.
Meet Melka, a 20-year-old Ethiopian woman who was married off by her parents at age 14. Now, through a World Vision program, Melka shares her story and teaches young girls about their rights in an effort to prevent the perpetuation of child marriage in her community.
The sad truth is that there are countless Melkas scattered across the globe. In fact, in the developing world, one in three girls is married before she reaches 18 years old, and one in seven is married before she is 15.
One hundred million more girls will become child brides over the next decade, but we have an opportunity now to make this stop.
For starters, we can shed light on this reality through powerful storytelling, and begin to effect policy changes in support of girls around the world. Stories like Melka’s can be told, thanks to a new partnership between World Vision and 10×10, a global campaign for girls’ education.
At 10×10, we tell powerful stories to inspire you to take action in support of girls around the world. We know that investing in girls can change the world, and we are using our campaign and feature film to change minds, change lives, and change policy around girls’ education.
So far, World Vision has hosted us in India and Ethiopia, where we have met some incredible girls. A few of their photographs and stories are currently on display in an exhibit sponsored by Intel and USAID at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. If you’re in the area, be sure to check it out.
These stories can make a real impact. I hope you’ll join the 10×10 campaign for girls’ education. Together, let’s change the world.<!–nextpage–>
The following photos are a sample of the 10×10 photo exhibit, sponsored by Intel and USAID, that will run through January at the gallery at the USAID Knowledge Services Center at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Mezzanine Level, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20004.