Fatouma and Her Commitment to Pay It Forward

Jun 15, 2022 ,

In VOW’s work to end child marriage, we have found that often those who have been at risk of child marriage are some of the most passionate advocates for other girls. One of the fiercest allies we have come across is a young woman named Fatouma. Now 21, she was just 12 years old when her mother tried to marry her off as a way to ease the family’s financial burden after her father’s death.

“I asked her to let me continue going to school, but she refused,” said Fatouma. With no other option available, Fatouma dropped out of school and left home to avoid child marriage. Luckily, her grandmother stepped in and helped her get involved with a local organization that VOW funds called Agir Plus. They support girls forced to leave school by helping them build skills that will allow them to support themselves.

Today, Fatouma works for the very organization that helped her escape child marriage. In addition to working directly with the young women in the program, she engages with local mothers to educate them on the benefits of letting their daughters decide about marriage for themselves.
“When I hear a girl is going to be married, I intervene. I go to the parents and make sure they know about the dangers of marrying off little girls.” To date, Fatouma has prevented more than a dozen child marriages.

Photo Credit: Alexandre Bonneau

VOW funding not only helps to prevent child marriage, it is helping to create a generation of young girls’ who feel empowered to own their future. Young women like Fatouma, who are unafraid to use their voice and willing to pay it forward, will help us end child marriage in our lifetime.

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About VOW for Girls

VOW for Girls is a growing global movement that partners with the wedding industry, engaged couples, brands, and individuals to end the international child marriage crisis. Count to three. A child just became a bride. By raising funds and awareness, VOW is ending child marriage by building a connected groundswell of love and support for every girl whose right to own her future is at risk.

100% of the funds raised by VOW for Girls are invested in underfunded yet effective local efforts that advance girls’ rights by providing education, job training, and vital life skills, so girls can own their futures. VOW for Girls is a vow for the future.

Of the 175+ organizations supported to date, 85% are led by women. An estimated 260,000 girls have been directly impacted by this work to date and 1.6 million individuals have indirectly benefited. Follow @vowforgirls to learn more about VOW!