“My big sister was forced to quit school and get married at the age of 14, and she’s already a mother, so I know how important it is to fight for girls’ rights,” says Chobi, 13, who is a member of the Young Women’s Rights Association.
‘‘I think the same thing was planned for me, but mum and dad changed their minds after the boat school and Young Women’s Rights Association started informing people about the problems with child marriage. But I feel sorry for my sister, who didn’t get the same opportunities as me. It’s to protect other girls from ending up in the same situation as her that I’m a member of the association.
“We meet about three times a month and learn about girls’ rights. And we support and protect one another. Being part of the group means we feel stronger together. We dare to say what we think. It’s really important, because we talk to our families, neighbours, children and young people, older people…in fact everyone in the local villages!”
“I actually think they’re listening to us, because child marriage is nowhere near as common here anymore. My family treats me well, and it’s the same for most girls in this region now. More people are starting to understand that boys and girls have the same rights.
“My dream for the future is to own my own land and grow food on it. I’d also like to keep some goats and ducks, and live a peaceful life. I’d be happy with that.”
TEXT: Andreas Lönn
PHOTO: Johan Bjerke