Hadiqa - KidsRights
Action developer

“Send girls off to learn, not off to marry.”

Hadiqa (17)
Pakistan
Theme: Child marriage

Girls United for Human Rights by Hadiqa

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.

Mission
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.

 

What's the problem?

Where Hadiqa lives, many girls have to marry at a young age. This happens throughout Pakistan, but in Hadiqa’s neighborhood, the number of child marriages is the highest. Girls are expected to marry early, have children and stay at home to look after their families. They can’t play or go to school anymore and have no opportunities to grow. Far too often, they become victims of (sexual) violence.

Hadiqa was 11 years old when she received a marriage proposal herself. Read more about Hadiqa's story. This encouraged her to establish Girls United for Human Rights at the age of 12.

What is Hadiqa's solution?

With Girls United for Human Rights, Hadiqa wants to ensure that girls get into action, so that together they can create a world in which everyone is equal and girls have a better life. The organization consists of only girls, under the age of 18. Together they go to families, organize meetings and conduct campaigns. This way, they want to raise awareness about the negative consequences of child marriages. Read more about Girls United for Human Rights.

Hadiqa would like to expand her organization with podcasts, education and training.

  •  In the podcasts, Hadiqa wants to let girls speak who got out of a marriage themselves.
  • She will educate religious leaders. These leaders have a lot of influence on people and can therefore ensure that people look at child marriages differently.
  • Train girls through the Young Girls Leadership Program, to become a changemaker and to assume a role as a leader.

What is the goal?

Hadiqa's goal is to improve the lives of girls and women in her Pakistani neighborhood.

How does she do it?

Together with her team, Hadiqa defines what exactly should happen. These tasks are then divided among them. Hadiqa keeps the overview and keeps an eye on whether everyone is doing well.

She finds it important that all activities are evaluated afterwards. What have we achieved? What went well? And what should we do differently next time? To ensure that this is possible, they must determine in advance how it will be measured.

What does Hadiqa need?

  • For the project, Hadiqa needs, among other things, sound equipment, pens, transport, a laptop and a camera.

Who does she need?

  • Girls who want to share their personal story.
  • Religious leaders who want to assist her in her fight against child marriage.
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