Forced child marriage— forced marriage before the age of 18, including informal unions—is an injustice and a human rights violation. Yet, despite being illegal in many countries, it remains widespread. And it’s getting worse.
Girls under 18 who are forced to marry are more likely to leave school, experience domestic violence, and die due to complications in pregnancy and childbirth.
The situation facing millions of girls is desperate, but not definite.
It’s time to stop the weddings.
You've helped stop the weddings
The highest rate of marriage amongst those under 15 years old is found in Bangladesh. The need is great.
We've raised all the funds we need for this intervention. The funding will train 80 Compassion staff and 144 parents and caregivers of Compassion-supported children to deliver community-based workshops on the dangers of forced child marriage.
Workshops will be delivered over the space of a year to more than 8,500 household members across 36 Compassion projects.
The Compassion sponsorship programme already provides girls in Bangladesh with a good education, skills, encouragement, and social support. Donations to Compassion’s intervention will help educate the wider community on the dangers and disadvantages of child marriage and protect young girls’ futures.
• €8 covers the cost of learning materials for 20 household members
• €33 will fund six local workshops on preventing child marriage at a Compassion project
• €50 provides professional training from local government to two Compassion projects
Yerosen’s story: Saved from marriage at 12 years old
Yerosen’s testimony speaks powerfully of the realities of child marriage, and how our local partners, through child sponsorship and community education, are fighting for girls’ rights in the countries where we serve.?
"I prayed to God to deliver me from my abductor, to let me go back to my family, and for them not to harm me. I prayed every day and believed with all my heart," Yerosen, 12, Ethiopia.
Yerosen was a victim of the illegal practice of 'marriage by abduction', which is common in Ethiopia; 69% of child marriages begin this way. At just 12 years old, she was abducted and spent three months with her captor, a 35-year-old man.
Compassion project director Abdi led the search and rescue efforts. Even after her grandfather gave up and accepted a dowry to give his granddaughter in marriage to her abductor, Compassion's church partner continued the search until she was found safe. Compassion's staff helped her find a safe and loving home with a foster family.
"Had it not been for Abdi, the church and the prayer of everyone who knows me, I would have been married by now," she said. "I'm happy in my new home. I just can't wait to grow up and prove to everyone that I survived for a reason—to fight for other girls like the church fought for me."