Every year, 10 million girls are forcibly married before the age of 18, in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Europe. That is something like 25,000 girls everyday. ‘People don’t seem to talk much about Child Brides. Perhaps it seems to be a family issue, and not a public one, or a cultural issue, and not one of the human rights. But we cannot stay silent. ‘ said Desmond Mpilo Tutu, Former Primate of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa (now the Anglican Church of Southern Africa).

This is a great human rights issue. But it is also a development issue. 64% of illiterate adults are women; girls under 15 are five times more likely to die in childbirth; over 60% of the world’s hungry are women; so how are we going to improve these situations?

People who may say this is tradition, it cannot change. But Desmond Tutu thinks it is not true. Traditions can change because they are made by people. Change happens through protecting girls’ rights in laws and practices, empowering them to take control of their bodies and destinies, and to even become leaders and change-markers themselves.

‘Great change can happen within a single generation. I know this to be true. I see with my own eyes’ , said Desmond Tutu,

In this new video from Girls Not Brides¸Graça Machel, Mary Robinson and Desmond Tutu of The Elders call on people around the world to action: to end child marriage in a single generation.

Photo: The Elders