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Every year, more than 12 million girls are married before the age of 18*. Fuelled by poverty, child marriage is a fundamental violation of human rights, which puts young girls in life-threatening danger. And yet, when girls are supported to go to school and empowered through education, their families, communities and the whole world stand to benefit. This International Day of the Girl, CAMFED is asking partners and champions of our movement to make a pledge in support of young women leaders in our Alumnae Network, CAMA, who are acting TODAY to ensure girls go to school, and thrive after school. Young women like Rose, a CAMA leader from rural Malawi.

"We work to address all the barriers that keep girls out of school in our communities. We speak to children and parents about the importance of girls’ education, and how early marriage ends a girl’s chances in life. I work with social services and the police, reporting child marriage as child abuse cases to the Social Welfare Office. I have already ended 8 child marriages.  It is our pride as CAMA to support child brides to return to school.” - Rose, CAMA Leader, Malawi

Rose has made stopping child marriage the primary focus in her life, and she rallies her fellow alumnae and her community around her.  Rose will be taking over @CAMFED’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram channels on Day of the Girl. She’ll also share the most inspirational messages the public sends her. Readers can add their message via this pledge form.

Rose, CAMA Leader

At only 22 years old, Rose has already helped to annul eight child marriages, return girls to school, and bring abusers to justice.

Rose doesn’t act alone, but galvanizes community support. She speaks out in front of large groups of parents and children, teachers and school committee members, along with local traditional leaders, mother support groups, social welfare officers and the police.

Using her own income, Rose has supported seven girls with school fees enabling them to stay in school.

"This year, we have managed to bring back 3 girls who have dropped out of school.  It is our wish that these girls remain in school and complete secondary education.” - Rhoda, Mother Support Group Chair, Malawi

Rhoda chairs a Mother Support Group in rural Malawi

Rhoda works closely with school staff to return children to education. (Photo: Eliza Powell/CAMFED)

Rhoda, Mother Support Group Chair

For several years Rhoda has been a community activist. She chairs a CAMFED Mother Support Group, a group of parents who donate their time and resources to keep children in school. 

Rhoda works closely not just with other parents but with teachers and local leaders to provide practical support - from providing guidance and counselling to marginalized students to offering sexual and reproductive health information.

In addition, the committee joined together to purchase land and start a small- scale business. Using the profits from selling pigeon peas, ground nuts and soya beans, they support children with school fees and supplies.

"We have many champions and we work together. We say each one should take part, and together we can end early marriages.” - Ida Deleza, Traditional Leader and CAMFED Malawi Board - Vice-Chair

Ida, Traditional Leader

Widely respected in her community, Ida uses her platform as a traditional leader to campaign for an end to early marriage and renew efforts to keep children in school.

A teacher by profession, Ida knows that education will enable her community to break the vicious cycle of poverty. She encourages community members to come together and provide essentials for the most vulnerable children.

Not stopping there, Ida has taken her activism beyond her local area, persuading other traditional leaders to protect the best interests of their youth, with a focus on education. 

Ida (center) with members of her community

Ida (center) with members of her community. (Photo: Patrick Hayes/CAMFED)