According to International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), one-third of girls in the developing world are married before the age of 18 and 1 in 9 are married before the age of 15. This harrowing injustice is rampant over the world – yes, even in the US we had 248,000 children forced into marriage between 2000 and 2019 – led photographer Stephanie Sinclair to start Too Young To Wed.
Too Young To Wed is an NGO which partners with local nonprofits all around the world with the aim of alleviating the human rights challenges faced by girls globally. The ultimate aim is to provide a better life for these young survivors by giving them literary classes and means to develop skills.
Their most recent project was in Samburu, Kenya in partnership with The Samburu Girls Foundation. They helped provide previous child brides with new opportunities including scholarships, and access to female empowerment photography workshops called the Tehani Photo Workshop.
The workshop is named after Tehani, an eight-year-old child bride in Yemen who was unable to escape her marriage. This year, 18 Kenyan teen girls who escaped their marriages were brought together for the workshop in Kenya. Speaking with the New York Times about The Tehani Photo Workshop, Sinclair said:
"Research shows that when girls are empowered and have strong connections outside of the family, they have a better chance of protecting themselves and their future
The independence that comes with a such a career, the knowledge you acquire through meeting other people, and the freedom the camera gives you to express yourself can’t be underplayed
Instinctively, I knew that a photo workshop could nurture the girls in a unique way."
Each photo in the series is of the girls, taken by another one of the girls, and you can see the full series right here.