Monthly Archives: July 2014

At 11, I married my 60 years old husband.

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Take yourself back to when you were 11 years old. Imagine on a warm summer’s morning, your mum beckons for you to come over. She dresses you up in a pretty pink dress, adorns you in jewellery and even adds some makeup. You’re excited because you only get dressed up when it’s a special occasion. Afterwards, your mother lovingly carries you towards a place that is decorated much like a wedding venue. You get even more excited because you love weddings! You’re taken to a man of 60 years and told you you are going to be his wife. You look at your mum to make sure she is joking but sadly, she’s not.

At that revelation, you would probably feel incredibly scared, bewildered and disbelieving. Unfortunately, this is not a horror movie, only a sad reality for many children around the world. The thought of going through that horrifies me and yet, it’s happening. In fact, it is so common that it affects 39,000 children a day or a child every 2 seconds. In India, 47% of girls that are married are under 18 and in Yemen, over 50% of female children under 18 are married.* These girls are regularly married off to a male adult.

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Parents marry off their girls young due to various cultural and religious reasons. They think they are protecting their kids and feel early marriage prevents them from rape. They may also do it because of poverty and it is one less mouth to feed. A lack of education about child marriage also plays a part in it.

When married, the girls are usually pulled out of school, isolated from friends and family, forced to engage in sexual conduct and have children when they are not mentally and physically ready.

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A few reasons for taking the married child out of school is for fear they may partake in sexual activity outside of the marriage. It’s also seen as a reason to allow more time to take part in domestic duties.

More often than not, they are treated like properties – regularly beaten senselessly or maimed or even killed. With no form of education and support, these children have little to no chances of escaping such a situation.

These girls are treated so badly that they resort to self-immolation, the deed of putting themselves on fire. Usually an act of extreme political and religious protest, it’s committed in utter desperation.

To find out more about child, early and forced marriages, I would suggest you visit www.tooyoungtowed.org. They are currently doing a travelling exhibition around the world and happen to be in the London School of Economics until the 1st of August at 2pm. It is open to all and no tickets are required.

 

“All statistics are provided from Too Young To Wed.

Turning 25: Lessons I have learnt along the way

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A few days ago, as I regularly do, I went through my “Diary of Doom”.

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A journal I started in my early teens, it is so called because it is full of teenage angst and depressing anecdotes of the bad times. I giggle every time I read it because I still can’t believe how over-dramatic I was. Anyways, at the end of writing a journal post, I would note down what I had learned from the situation. Like everybody else, I have faced some challenges and through it, I have learned some powerful lessons. Having just turned 25 myself, I thought it would be appropriate to share 25 of the poignant lessons I’ve learnt over my time on earth.

1) Rejection: Never see it as that but as a result. A certainty in life, it can be incredibly hard to accept. Don’t beat yourself up about it and move on as there are usually equal or even better options out there.

2) Nobody is perfect even if they seem to be through their Instagram and Facebook posts. Everybody bleeds and cries.

3) We all make mistakes. Life is about trial and error. Some people get it right the first time and for others, it takes a few tries. When a mistake is made, acknowledge it and try not to make it again. If you try to blame it on others or ignore it, it may lead to your downfall. I have made many mistakes in my professional life but because I have been able to acknowledge them early on, I have given myself the chance to improve and grow.

4) In life, you go through many failures and disappointments, especially when chasing your dream. It’s how you handle these that will determine your success.

5) Keeping a list of your goals, whether short term or long term helps you clarify and work through them much more easily.

6) Strive to keep learning about anything and everything. It doesn’t matter how or what you learn as long as you continue to do so. I’ve always enjoyed reading. When I was younger, it gave me a glimpse into a world that my parents were fiercely trying to protect and cushion me from. It helped satisfy a curiosity I’ve always had. As I grow older, travelling and keeping current via the media also contribute to quenching my natural curiosity.

7) No matter how nice you are to people, not everybody will show you the same courtesy. Despite this, continue being the nice, friendly individual you are and you will be more respected among your peers.

8) Invest in yourself. I class my internships as a great investment as they have improved my chances of acquiring that coveted role in PR. Although, it’s been difficult and sacrifices have had to be made, it has put me in a much better position that I was a year ago.

9) Don’t let anybody take advantage of you.

10) Cultivate your professional relationships. Networking is widely known as one of the key ways to gain that dream role.

11) Always make time for your family and friends. They will be that cushion to fall back on when times get rough.

12) Don’t bury your head in the sand. Face your problems head on no matter how difficult that is. The problem isn’t going to go away by ignoring it so might as well sort it out sooner rather than later.

13) Attention to detail is incredibly important. The company report that you have slaved over for a week may be discredited because you spelt the name of the company wrong. If in doubt, triple check everything and ask a colleague to check for you.

14) Always stand up for yourself.

15) Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. It would be harder to evolve without doing so.

16) Start a hobby. It is a great way to help gain confidence that will be beneficial in other areas in your life.

17) One of the simplest ways to brighten someone’s day is by giving a compliment. Don’t be afraid to dish it out, it’s free!

18) Always say thank you. At the end of an internship, after an interview or even after being rejected, those two magic words go a long way. It’s also just common courtesy.

19) Eat well, exercise and take personal pride in your appearance.

20) It’s smarter to admit that you don’t know than to try to pretend you do.

21) Nothing comes easily so work hard, persevere, be determined and motivated when striving for your goals.

22) Times goes by whatever you do so make the most of it.

23) Putting others down will not bring good to anybody so avoid it.

24) There is no harm in trying. Do not limit yourself because it seems impossible.

25) Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. At best, it could positively change your life. At worst, they could say is “No”or ignore you. It’s not the end of the world if they do.

So there you have it! In my next post, I will write about a trip to Ireland I took a couple of weeks ago.

 What lessons have you learned that is bound to help you in the future?