As you know, this October 11 is the first International Day of the Girl Child. Plan International USA will be celebrating this momentous occasion with events in New York City where we have invited several of our Because I am a Girl delegates from around the world to speak.
For the next several weeks leading up to the Day of the Girl, I will introduce you to each one of our delegates. You will learn about their daily lives and their involvement in programs that help support girls.
Today I introduce you to an education-focused 15 year old from Indonesia. Meet Nurul, a 10th grader at SMA Mambaul Ulum Senior High School with a passion for promoting equal opportunities for girls and ending child marriage.
Nurul’s mother was married at the age of 15 at the insistence of her parents. It was widely believed that girls needed to marry young because as an ‘old bride’ they would only attract widowers and would lead a difficult life. With a husband 10 years older than she, Nurul’s mother married and gave birth at 16.
"Getting married young according to my mother has made her and my father unready to deal with keeping a household,” says Nurul.
Nurul believes that if her mother was provided the opportunity to continue her education, she would have waited to marry and as a result would have been more prepared for the responsibilities of raising a family.
“My mother was married at my age, and look at me,” says Nurul. “I am still in school and do many activities. Even though we are from a low-income family, my father says that cannot stop me from dreaming of higher education.”
While the fears from her mother’s generation might have subsided, there are new issues that are taking young girls out of school. She says that many of her friends have started having sex at a young age and are becoming pregnant. These young girls are then married off and are never given the opportunity to return to school.
By promoting the importance of education and the disadvantages of child marriage, Nurul is determined to make changes in her community. She has become very involved in her village’s event committee acting as public relations staff and organizing events for children.
She has participated in Plan sponsored programs focusing on child protection and because of her leadership and dedication, is now a Because I am a Girl ambassador.
“Being a Because I am a Girl ambassador will be pivotal for me,” Nural tells us. “I will campaign to the world so that girls of my age can get their right for higher education and have a bright future”.
Nural currently campaigns to end child marriage in her neighborhood and district. As an ambassador, her dreams of campaigning at the national and international level are coming true. She’ll be with us in New York City in order to celebrate the Day of the Girl and educate the public about keeping girls in school and ending child marriage.