White Ribbon Alliance

CNN OpEd

Time to stop child marriage in Yemen and give girls back their childhood

CNN

March 17, 2014
Editor's note: Dr Nawal Ba Abbad is a doctor from Sanaa, Yemen, who in partnership with White Ribbon Alliance Yemen has campaigned tirelessly for a law against child marriage in her country.

(CNN) -- Throughout my career as a doctor I have traveled from the mountains of Yemen to its deserts. I have seen first hand what happens when children give birth to children. I have seen the tombstones of girls who died too young because they married too young.

Yemen is one of only two countries in the world with no legislation on a minimum age of marriage.

With a national dialogue underway to establish a new constitution, there is now a chance to establish a safe age of marriage, protecting young girls who are currently married off as young as 9 years old.

As I advocate to end child marriage in Yemen, I always remember my best friend at school. We would talk about our future and what we wanted to be when we grew up. We had big aspirations, as young girls should. My friend was the smartest girl in our class. Everything felt possible.

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