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Girls deliver 11,500 letters urging Congress to pass Preventing Child Marriage Act

Girls prepare the 11,500 signatures to deliver to Senators urging the passage of the Preventing Child Marriage Act.
Girls prepare the 11,500 signatures to deliver to Senators urging the passage of the Preventing Child Marriage Act.
July 15, 2010

A group of young global citizens will spend Thursday afternoon, July 15, at Congress urging lawmakers to pass “The International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act.” There are already an estimated 60 million girls worldwide who are child brides. Without serious action to end this harmful tradition, 100 million more girls are expected to be forced into marriage in the next decade.

Helina, a student at Cardozo Senior High School in Washington, D.C., is one of the leaders of the youth delegation. She was born in Ethiopia where half of all girls are married by age 14 in the northern Amhara region. "Child marriage is terrible,” says Helina. “Kids should be able to stay in school and get an education, and not be forced into marriage. We need to do something about it. We have to make sure people are aware of this situation."

To raise awareness of this human rights crisis, these young activists will attend Thursday’s congressional hearing titled, “Targeting Girls in the Name of Tradition: Child Marriage”, which will be conducted by the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission from 1:30—3:30 p.m. in 2226 Rayburn House Office Building.

Sixteen-year-old Shayna, a D.C. student at School Without Walls says, “It is important for girls my age or younger to go through their childhood experience in a positive way so they can grow and become strong young women, and know what it is they want for themselves and get proper education, develop friendships and connections with others. Ultimately having strong and beautiful young women in this world will make this world a better place."

After the hearing, students will deliver 11,500 letters signed by Plan USA supporters from across the U.S. urging their Senators to make sure this important human rights legislation passes before Congress adjourns.

These young global citizens are participating in Because I am a Girl, Plan’s campaign to fight gender inequality, promote girls' rights and lift millions of girls out of poverty. Plan works in 48 developing countries and is one of the world’s leading child-centered development organizations.

Learn more about Plan's Because I am a Girl campaign.