Monday, 25 July 2011

on a serious note: child marriage

Perhaps not a subject I would normally discuss in this space. But, having learned a little about it, I cannot not talk about it.

I know a woman who has spent many years of her life documenting child marriage, a practice which takes place in at least 50 countries around the world. Photojournalist Stephanie Sinclair, whose work is regularly published in National Geographic, Newsweek and Marie Claire, has now distilled eight years of her work into a film that - beautifully, hauntingly, frighteningly, shockingly - reveals the human face of this tradition.

I encourage you to watch the film (scroll down to find it at the end of this post). The images and words of young girls who have been given, traded and sold into marriage do not make for easy viewing. As a mother of three little girls myself, I was deeply moved.

As a result of her work on this issue (which she writes about here and discusses on the PBS Newshour here), Stephanie and her friend Susanne Kreig set up The Elsa, Sifirash & Friends Soap Cooperative.  This small-scale vocational training program is empowering young women to build safer, more stable lives for themselves and their children. If you feel moved to help, there is a donation facility via Paypal or Amazon Payments. You may also wish to share a link to Stephanie's film about child brides.

Theirs is a story that deserves to be heard.

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