Hadiqa first came across child marriage when she was 7 years old. Her friend told her she was getting married. Initially, Hadiqa did not really see this as a problem. In fact, her and her friends were looking forward to the wedding and the party. However, when her friend did not go to school anymore after the marriage, Hadiqa started to have doubts.
When Hadiqa was 11 years old, she got a marriage proposal herself. She definitely did not want to get married, and luckily her uncle supported her decision. He informed her about the her rights, and because of that, together they convinced Hadiqa’s parents not to marry her off.
Shortly after this, when she was 12, Hadiqa decided to start fighting against child marriages. She went door to door to inform families about them. That is how in 2014, her organization Girls United for Human Rights started.
Girls United for Human Rights
Girls United for Human Rights comprises of a group of girls, all younger than 18 years old. Together they are fighting against child marriages, and for equal opportunities for girls and women.
What does Girls United for Human Rights do?
The girls of Girls United for Human Rights take action in various ways to reach their goal. For example, they organize gatherings in which they try to make people aware of their rights, and the negative consequences of child marriages. They also visit families at their homes to convince them.
They also use theater for young people and children, and try to involve the local government, especially the women, to get their support.
Next to that, they are running campaigns. An example of that is the back to school-campaign, which aims to keep, or let married girls return to school. In order to get more influence at schools, they developed a manual for young girls. These manuals are being spread around various schools in the neighborhood.
Hadiqa would like other girls to become changemakers, and in that way start fighting for their own rights. She hopes that in this way discrimination and violence against girls, and eventually child marriages, will decrease.