Real Women, Real Stories: Issue 5
Getting to Stories

Real Women, Real Stories: Issue 5

Rachana Sunar, Oslo Freedom Forum

In each Stories Issue, we collect stories from women around the world. These stories are authentic, raw, and unapologetic. They are emotional. They are stories not often told. We hope their stories of strength will spark necessary conversations about child marriage and, most importantly, change these practices for the betterment of women everywhere.


Education in Afghanistan: Breaking Traditional Barriers

"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." 

Read Yalda's story →


From Potential Child Bride to Community Leader

"[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." 

Listen to Rachana's story →


The Sad Hidden Plight of Child Grooms

"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."

Read Pannilal's story →


Child Brides are a Very Real Problem in America Today

"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 →


Inspired by South Asian traditions that naturally nourish skin in transparent and holistic ways, Yellow Beauty seeks to solve complicated problems with ingredients you can feel good about, while helping girls be girls. Yellow Beauty donates 10% of profits to Plan International Canada projects that work to help end child marriage.


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