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And let us help those who are already married to lead more fulfilling lives.
All members of society will benefit when we let girls be girls, not brides." institution signifying a union between two adults and the beginning of their future together.
At the time of their marriage, when Destaye was age 11, she was still in school and her husband expressed interest in letting her continue her education. Laali, 15, isn’t sure but like her classmates in a rural part of Jaipur in the Indian state of Rajasthan, she is certain she doesn’t want to be a child bride. In India, where 47 percent of girls are married before the age of 18—56 percent in rural communities like the one these girls live in—stories like these are few and far between.
Since the birth of their son, however, she has had to fulfill her duties of being a wife and mother exclusively. But programs aimed at educating and empowering girls are beginning to bear fruit, giving these girls the confidence to say “no” to early marriage.
Unfortunately, millions of girls still suffer from a vastly different marriage experience every year.
Over nearly a decade, photographer Stephanie Sinclair has investigated the phenomenon of child marriage in India, Yemen, Afghanistan, Nepal and Ethiopia. Fifteen-year-old Destaye and her husband divide their time between working in the fields and taking care of their 6-month-old baby.By tradition, the young bride is expected to live at home until puberty, when a second ceremony transfers her to her husband.Long after midnight, Rajani is roused from sleep and carried by her uncle to her wedding.Ghulam plays in the village on the day of her engagement.Removed from school just months earlier, she said she is sad to be getting engaged, as she wanted to be a teacher. But people laughing at you makes it more difficult.” After the birth of her son six months ago, however, Destaye no longer had time for classes. Addisu and his new bride Destaye are married in a traditional Ethiopian Orthodox wedding in the rural areas outside the city of Gondar, Ethiopia.