A Little Girl’s Dreams

People often thought my sister and I were twins. We were three years apart but roughly the same size. We were pretty cute buggers, weren’t we?

Fadra and Tonya

I don’t remember if we ever discussed our hopes and dreams for the future. I’m sure I talked about wanting to be an actress and a model. Too bad I was vertically challenged (and challenged in many other un-model-like ways). And I remember laying out my plans for the future.

College at 18.

Married at 23.

Kids at 25 (two kids total).

I didn’t think about the details. Like who I would marry or what else I wanted to do with my life. And like many other little girls (I think), I would take my mother’s white half slip, place it on my head, and walk around in front of the mirror dreaming of the day I’d be a beautiful bride with a long train.

And then I’d dream a little further. I’d dream about the Big New Year’s Eve in 1999 that would mark the start of a new millenium. I dreamed that, at 29, we’d have a sitter for the kids and my husband and I would ring in the New Year at a fancy party on a yacht overlooking some city.

Yeah. Sometimes I dream big.

I’m not sorry for the way things turned out. I did go to college (at the tender age of 17), finally found my partner for life and got married at 29, and had my one and only son at age 36. And I didn’t even have a long train for my wedding dress.

In 1999, I spent New Year’s Eve with my family, without a boyfriend, and reported dutifully to work the next day to ensure our computer labs had not imploded because of the Y2K bug. And so did my co-worker, Sean, who eventually became my husband a short 7 months later.

We can plan and hope and even alter our future because we have one thing: CHOICE. We have a choice. We decided where and when and if we want to get married. And believe it or not, in this day and age, women all over the world don’t have this choice. They are forced to marry. Even worse? The same thing is happening for little girls.

Maybe you think that’s an exaggeration. I assure you, it’s not. A few stories from CARE, an organization that is fighting to end child marriage…

  • Tume, a 10 year old girl from Ethiopia, was forced to marry a 22-year-old man. She is unable to go to school, almost guaranteeing her and her future children a lifetime of poverty.

Photo credits: 2010 Justine Bettinger/CARE

  • Tino, a 9 year old girl also from Ethiopia, is forced to marry her sister’s husband after she dies during childbirth. Tino’s husband is 26 years older than she is.
  • Nana, a 15 year old from the Republic of Georgia, was forced by her parents to marry a 28-year-old man. There was no wedding. The marriage began when her new husband came and took Nana by force from a friend’s house.

This may be a cultural norm in some countries but it is a violation of human rights. None of these girls wants to be married. They want a chance to be educated, They want to attend school and dream of a better and different life.

Thankfully, there are happy endings.

  • In India, Mukeshwari’s grandfather promised her in marriage to an older man in a nearby village when she was only 15 years old. She fought back and, with the help of a CARE-trained volunteer, applied community pressure to prevent the marriage from occurring. Mukeshwari is back in school and hopes to become a doctor for her village someday.

International Day of the Girl | CARE

If you’re a mother, a daughter, or someone who simply care, join me in recognizing October 11th as the International Day of the Girl. It’s time to stand up against child marriage and realize that global problems are everyone’s problems.

Learn more about this issue and the difference that CARE is making. And perhaps, lend your help to make a difference as well.

This post supports the International Day of the Girl on October 11th on behalf of CARE.org and Charitable Influence, a network of bloggers using their voices for good.

 

  • http://www.5minutesformom.com/ Susan (5 Minutes For Mom)

    Child marriage enrages me!

    • FadraN

      You and me both. Thanks for reading, though.

  • http://www.facebook.com/candace.lindemann Candace Lindemann

    Great post. Education for girls can make a huge difference for the whole society!

    • FadraN

      That’s what so many people don’t understand. Education is the root of change!

  • Pingback: International Day of the Girl()

  • Jennifer Laurion

    Hello I found your site by looking for a certain pair of underwear that I don’t think Haynes sells anymore. It is on this post: http://allthingsfadra.com/2010/07/what-she-says-womens-underwear/
    If you have any suggestions on how to find them please email me, jenL092806@yahoo.com. I am having a real problem finding them and the ones I have are worn so much they have holes in them and I cannot even read the tag to find out what they are made of and the design. Thank you in advance for at least reading this.

  • Jenny Bardsley

    First, I love your big dreams that you had. Just the potential of it all and the opportunity and you being able to look at a future of what could possibly be. Even though I know that there are issues for young girls all around the world, when I hear/read stories like this, it still blows my mind that this can happen. That they have no choice, no opportunity like you or me. It is so sad and maddening! Thank you so much for sharing!

    • FadraN

      I used to dream about fast forwarding 10 or 20 years just to see how my life had turned out. So sad to know that those girls are even old enough to have had those dreams.

  • http://twitter.com/sellabitmum Tracy Morrison

    Great post Fadra. xo

    • FadraN

      xo back

  • http://www.deepestworth.com/ Shannon

    I have a daughter that is almost ten. The thought of her being forced to marry makes me vomit. Thanks for shedding light on an issue that so easily goes unnoticed because it is not right there in front of us.

    • FadraN

      Can you imagine? Ten years old?? That’s criminal in this country and it is custom and culture in others. Their thinking CAN be changed.

  • http://www.mommywords.com/ Brittany at Mommy Words

    Oh Fadra this breaks my heart. For little girls everywhere. For their mamas, for their families and the partner who is out there somewhere and may never get to be with her. That picture broke my heart and remembering how I wanted Ross to propose for so many years and I cried often waiting…just to think how blessed I was to not have to deal with the other side of marriage and youth.

    Thank you for sharing.

    • FadraN

      Thank you for reading. I can’t even imagine how I would feel about this issue if I was the mother of a little girl. It’s bad enough just to think it occurs. The real stories are so sad.

  • http://bocafrau.com/ Susi Kleiman

    I’m glad I saved this in my e-mail folder and came to read it even if it is a few days late. It’s just so sad that things like this still happen in our day and age.

    • FadraN

      I’m just as late in responding but I thank you thank you thank you for taking the time to read and think about it!

  • Pingback: We told the world “Girls Matter”()

  • Staci with CARE

    Thank you again, Fadra. We’re so happy for our partnership with you and Charitable Influence. And we want to congratulate you on the success of the International Day of the Girl project!

  • Pingback: Speaking Up For Girls on International Day of the Girl | Something Fierce()