Two years early, when she was only 13, a 45-year-old man approached her parents with a marriage proposal.
“He was rich, and he was using his wealth to influence my parents. My parents were pressuring me about him every day,” she told UNFPA.
But she was opposed to marrying so young. “I always resisted them,” she recalled.
National Girls’ Camp
Child marriage is a human rights violation, one that threatens girls’ lives and health. Child brides may become pregnant before their bodies are ready, and they are highly vulnerable to abuse. They are often forced to drop out of school, limiting their future prospects.
Ms. Binta Jalloh knew she needed help avoiding child marriage.
“I explained my situation to a friend, and she advised me to join the Children’s Forum Network. Through the network, I was fortunate to be part of the National Girls’ Camp.”
The girls, selected from a wide range of backgrounds, also received support from a mentor. “I learned from women who would become my role models through their inspirational stories,” Ms. Binta Jalloh said.
Still, when she returned home, her parents could not be persuaded that she would have more potential if she avoided child marriage.
They demanded that she marry the man they had chosen.
“This time, my parents told me they would disown me if I continued to decline the marriage. I was left with no choice,” she said. “I married him.”
A nightmare unfolds
The marriage was a nightmare, Ms. Binta Jalloh said.