An organization in the United Kingdom, Plan-UK, is partnering with thousands of schools in the country to educate students about an issue that is affecting young girls around the world: early and forced marriage. Plan has created an animated film and learning plan called “The Right to Say No,” which can be used to help educate students about this issue.
“Forced marriage is an abuse of human rights, a form of domestic abuse and, where it affects children and young people, child abuse,” said Lynne Featherstone, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Equalities and Criminal Information. “The government is already taking action, both in the UK and abroad, to raise awareness of the issue and protect those at risk. …I welcome the involvement of NGOs like Plan UK, whose new school resources pack is an example of the valuable work a number of charities are doing to provide information and support to local communities.”
Around the world, ten million girls who are under the age of 18 are forced to marry every year. This is 27,397 girls every day, or 19 girls every minute. In England, there were 1,735 cases of forced marriage last year. The holiday season is when many of these girls are forced into marrying a man who lives in another country and could be three times as old as them.
In order to draw attention to this problem, many schools will begin using “The Right to Say No” education materials before the end of the term. “The Right to Say No,” is based on the experiences of one 16-year old British girl who was forced into an early marriage in Pakistan.