In the collective Western consciousness, marriage is a social and legal contract between two consenting individuals that is celebrated and regarded as a milestone that many young people dream of reaching. But across the world, in spite of various laws and international agreements, millions of girls are forced or sold into marriages every year—one every two seconds.
General social awareness has allowed the educated public to acknowledge that this issue exists in some measure across the globe. But still, the problem of child marriage remains something so inconceivable that understanding just how prevalent the issue is proves to be difficult. So in attempt to increase awareness of these nefarious unions, Stephanie Sinclair spent a span of eight years photographing child brides in India, Yemen, Afghanistan, Nepal and Ethiopia, which were featured in a 2011 issue of National Geographic—but she’s not done with the issue quite yet.
One featured subject, Mejgon, was just 11-years-old when her father sold her to a 60-year-old man for man in exchange for two boxes of heroin. “In my whole life, I’ve never felt love,” she told Sinclair when they met in a safe house in Afghanistan when she was 16. But since finding out recently that Mejgon was sent back to live with her father, Sinclair is working again to fight for the rights of girls like the ones she photographed.
As a part of her Too Young To Wed series, Sinclair is selling her prints and accepting donations to support women and children in Nepal who have been victims of the earthquake, the Samburu Girls Foundation in Kenya, and more resources that aim to end child marriage and support the girls and women who fall victim to it.
“Our main focus will always be to provide powerful visual storytelling, then bring our girls’ stories to the world to help inspire an end to child marriage,” Sinclair told the Huffington Post. “It’s important to us that the communities who share their stories and are open to change, find the support they need.”
To learn more, please visit Too Young to Wed.
(via Huffington Post)