When a girl becomes a bride, her fundamental human rights are shattered: she almost always loses her opportunity for an education, her health is put in peril and her safety at risk. Child marriage happens everywhere. It devastates the lives of girls, negatively impacts communities and ultimately stunts the growth of nations.
As a young woman who barely escaped becoming a child bride, Sonita Alizadeh is well-aware of the devastating consequences of forced marriage. Sonita was born in Afghanistan under the Taliban regime but grew up as an undocumented refugee in Iran where she faced forced marriage as a teenager. Still unsure of her fate in 2014, she wrote the song Daughters for Sale to express her pain and share her experience and the experience of so many of her friends. The 2016 documentary film Sonita captures part of her story.
With the backing of the nonprofit The Strongheart Group, Sonita came to the United States in 2015 to pursue her dream of getting an education. Over the course of a few short years, in partnership with Strongheart, Sonita has transformed from a teenager with no formal education into a high school graduate recognized as the leading youth advocate for child marriage in the world. Sonita’s message is reaching the highest levels of global leadership, and her story and vision are inspiring young women around the world to stand against child marriage and stand up for their dreams