News / Middle East

Yemeni Girl Escapes Early Marriage, Raises Awareness

Nada al-Ahdal, an 11-year-old Yemeni girl, who escaped an early, arranged marriage, is raising awareness about children and forced marriage.
Nada al-Ahdal, an 11-year-old Yemeni girl, who escaped an early, arranged marriage, is raising awareness about children and forced marriage.
Nada al-Ahdal, the 11-year-old Yemeni girl who says in a viral YouTube video that she ran away from home to escape a forced marriage, told Radio Sawa that money is the main motive behind her parents' intentions.
 
In the interview, she talked about the details of her ordeal. “I thought a lot about escaping my parent’s house during the night,  so at six a.m. I ran away by myself and I was not afraid,”  she said, and added that she is now under the protection of Yemeni Women Union, a nonprofit that empowers women and promotes their rights.
 
Nada has succeeded in attracting worldwide attention through her video in which she says “I would rather die than get married.”
 
 
She also asks in the three-minute clip, “What happened to childhood innocence? What have the children done wrong to get married off like that?”
 
Ahdal’s uncle, Abdul Salam al-Ahdal, told Radio Sawa his niece refuses to return to her parents because of their determination to marry her off.
 
He said attempts to persuade her parents to change their decision, especially the argument that she is too young to get married, have not succeeded despite the intervention of officials and humanitarian organizations.
 
He added that “radical Islamic parties” have threatened him and Nada because they want her and the whole case “to disappear” unless she submits to her parents’ will.
 
Nada Ahdal told Radio Sawa she is not planning to go back to her parents, whom she has not forgiven. She said she will solve her problem on her own, though she is not sure how. 
 
She said that her parents want her to marry a 22-year-old for financial purposes, the fundamental reason behind child forced marriage in Yemen.
 
“After I solve my own problem, I will try to help any other young girl going through the same situation as mine,” she said.
 
Her uncle said Nada, who had been living at his house since she was two years old, fled her parents’ house just two weeks after going back to visit them.
 
“I did not have an idea that her parents were planning for this marriage,” he said.
 
According to a Human Rights Watch report, widespread child marriage jeopardizes Yemeni girls’ access to education, harms their health and keeps them as second-class citizens.
 
The report also says there is no legal minimum age for girls to marry in Yemen and that many of them are forced into marriage as young as 8.
 
This report originally appeared on Radio Sawa. 

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: dr.lyasimba from: Tanzania
July 28, 2013 2:05 PM
I thanks to God first because he is a one who give her this opinion/advice to run away from her parents,who force her to do things which is very dangerous to her health at all. In Africa there is many family who do like this. Many parents do this for their benefits so they force girls to get marriage while girl is still under 18 years thats why they don't develop due to poor feeling that they do.
And many family become dependants from others because this facilitate many girls to can't get education thats why many family have poor economy due to luck of education. I beg the Human Right organisation to fixs this problems so as to make our World best for all of us.

by: Neil Stahl from: Chapel Hill, NC
July 26, 2013 11:09 AM
The thing about this is, it seems to be from MEMRI, an Israeli propaganda outfit. It may well be true, in which case it's terrible, but given the source and the motivation of the source to make Muslims look bad so Israel can more easily keep stealing Palestinian land, I'd take the whole thing with a grain of salt.
In Response

by: Katerina Arzhayev
July 27, 2013 1:49 AM
What prompts you to say that Israel steals Palestini land? The five peace talks they have had since 1937 offering 90% of their land to the Arabs, each of which the Palestinians refused?
In Response

by: Lew from: here
July 26, 2013 2:36 PM
Muslims don't need much help to look bad. They treat girls this way all the time. The truth hurts!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs