March 26th, 2016
Source: Humans of Pakistan
“I was 7 years old when one of my friends told me that she is getting married. All of us were very excited when we thought of the wedding celebrations and dressing up. At the time, we were too young to understand what was happening. For us, it was a doll wedding come to life. After she moved to her husband’s house, we used to visit to play with dolls. Her mother in law often scolded us and told us to stop coming; that our friend is married and grown up now. Being a kid, we couldn’t understand why she was saying this. After some time, they stopped her from meeting us at all. One day, we arranged a party for her at school so that she could come. She did come but was very pale and down. We saw wounds on her arms and asked her what happened. She started crying and told us that her husband beat her with an iron wire. We were in shock. We didn’t think this was even possible. The incident imprinted in my mind – my friend’s face haunted me for months.
Then, when I turned 11, a proposal came for me. The man was a taxi driver. My grandmother told my father to say yes because it was a really good proposal. My father also seemed satisfied. I started crying. I couldn’t believe that my father, who always supported me for getting education, is now ready to get me married off at this age. I ran to my uncle in desperation and told him everything. He supported me and talked to my grandmother and my father, but they didn’t agree. That’s when my uncle told me about child marriage laws. I bravely told my father and grandmother that I will file a child marriage case against them if they got me married to that man. My uncle supported me and told my family that child marriage is a sin. It was only then that my family realized that what they are doing is wrong.
That one bold step changed my whole life. I decided that I will spread awareness regarding this cruel act. I went door to door to spread awareness. Many people didn’t support me and labeled me coarse and bad of character. Still I didn’t give up. Now at the age of 14, I am running a campaign called ‘Girls United’ aimed at saving the lives of hundreds of girls and helping them get enrolled in schools. I am glad that my father is now supporting me in every step of my life. I have achieved many awards for my work but I believe that the biggest award will be when every girl my age is in school instead of getting married and being forced to be a wife.”