Issue #5

Education in Afghanistan: Breaking Traditional Barriers

Yalda, 10 years old

Life is like a guitar. It can play happiness and sadness. You have to listen to both. When I see my situation --- my forced engagement, my school, my community -- I tolerate everything and say to myself that if a person can get an education they can go on to be successful in all aspects of life. " 

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From Potential Child Bride to Community Leader

Rachana Sunar, 22 years old

[Forced marriage] means they lose their future. They stop education. They lose their hope for living. And many of them are exposed to rape and domestic violence. This is not a life. It has to change. Girls are girls. Not wives. And it can be changed. " 

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The Sad Hidden Plight of Child Grooms

Pannilal Yadev, 25 years old

Recently I spoke to a school friend who told me he was going to engineering college. The news left me feeling ashamed and pitiful. If our parents had not forced us to marry at such a young age, our lives would be so different. I would have liked to have gone to engineering school. If we were allowed to finish our educations, [my wife] and I would have learned about family planning. Maybe I would have gone to college. Forcing children to marry doesn’t just push them deeper into poverty and threaten their health. It crushes their ambitions—whether they are girls or boys. "

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Child Brides are a Very Real Problem in America Today

Safia Mahjebin

One of the reasons my parents couldn’t force me into getting married was that I knew my religion. And in [Islam], it explicitly says that any marriage that is forced is null and void. And there have been cases in our tradition in which a girl has been married without her consent. And she went to the prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and asked him, ‘My parents forced me into marriage. Am I a married woman?’ And he said that marriage was not accepted. "

Listen to Safia's story