(Teen Advisors Alexa and Annie with Archbishop Desmond Tutu)
“All members of society will benefit when we let girls be girls, not brides,”
- United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
As a member of this year’s Teen Advisors class, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the high-level discussion on ending child marriage at the United Nations Headquarters.
In honor of International Day of the Girl, leaders from around the world, including United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, came together to speak out against child marriage.
I would have never expected to be in the presence of such amazing global advocates in my entire life, let alone at such an early age!
One particular quote that resonated with me was from Archbishop Desmond Tutu, “ending child marriage is as important as ending the apartheid.”
This reference to the apartheid truly displays the effects child marriage has on our entire world. If global citizens came together to end the apartheid, why shouldn’t we all do the same to end child marriage?
The UNFPA reception that followed was equally moving. Our group was one of the first to see photographer Stephanie Sinclair’s remarkable exhibit, “Too Young to Wed.” Each picture told the story of a young girl affected by child marriage, and portrayed the abuse and hardships that come along with it.
While looking at this gallery, I finally understood how a picture is worth a thousand words. Whether it’s using public speaking like the panelists, or photography like Stephanie Sinclair, we should all follow our passions to make a difference.