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“I escaped child marriage. Now I campaign against this terrible practice.”

In recognition of the International Day of the Girl Child, ActionAid seeks to celebrate all the young women who still suffer the burden of gender discrimination and violence during childhood and support all those who find the strength to react and fight for their dreams.

Sarmin, from southern Bangladesh, took part in training provided by ActionAid Bangladesh’s youth forum in Dhaka, the capital, in 2016. There, she learned about feminist leadership and the dangers of child marriage.

When Sarmin returned to her village, she told her community and parents about what she had learned. But her father wasn’t happy about her thoughts on child marriage. He decided to arrange a marriage for Sarmin, who was 16 at the time.

Sarmin’s father locked her in the family home, but her friends and teachers soon came to her rescue. They spoke to Sarmin’s parents and convinced them to cancel the marriage and let her continue her education.

Now Sarmin campaigns against child marriage – educating other students about the dangers of marrying young and encouraging them to stay in school. She also helps them claim ownership of their bodies. When she is older she hopes to hold a position in government.

Find out how ActionAid acts to support women in the whole world.