A Picture of joy on the face of a 10 year old

Below is 10 year old Nujood Ali from Yemen, full of joy and life.

Image by Stephanie Sinclair. Yemen, 2010
Image by Stephanie Sinclair. Yemen, 2010

The picture above was taken by Stephanie Sinclair in Yemen, 2010 and shows her on the day that she learned that she was being granted a divorce from her much older abuse husband. Very courageously, she fled him and took a taxi by herself to the courthouse in Sanaa, Yemen.

What then ensued was landmark legal battle — it turned her into an international heroine for women’s rights. There is a Wikipedia page about it all here.

For an update on it all, the UK’s Guardian reports last March

Nujood’s ordeal began when she was married off by her father at nine, for a dowry of a little more than $750, after her future husband, Faez Ali Thamer, promised not to have sex with her “before the year after she has her first period” – as required by law in Yemen.

But what followed was a cycle of sexual and physical abuse, starting on her wedding night.

Two months later, during a visit back to her family home, she took the unprecedented step of running away and asking a court for a divorce on grounds of abuse.

The case was the first of its kind in Yemen and attracted so much attention that the court’s security described the hearing as a “mob scene”. Both Nujood’s father and husband were briefly imprisoned during proceedings, after colluding to lie to the court about the girl’s age.

And so we now also learn from the same article that her complete shit of a father, is still a complete shit …

The royalties from I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced were supposed to pay for the girl’s schooling and allow her to follow her ambition to become a lawyer. Instead, Nujood says, the money has been squandered by her father – who has now sold her younger sister to a man twice her age.

Publishers Michel Lafon agreed to pay her father, Ali Mohammed al-Ahdel, $1,000 a month until she was 18 to support her upbringing. It also bought a large house for the family in Sana’a, and set up a fund paid directly to a school for her education.

But Nujood says she has been forced out of the home and has not received any of the money being paid to her father. She said her father had rented the first floor of the house to another family, and moved his new wife into the second. “I’ve been asked to leave and have to stay in my older brother’s cramped house.”

the book’s publishers say they are trying to rectify the situation. “We are unable to pay Nujood directly legally in Yemen due to the law and it is at times exceptionally difficult to know what is going on from France,” said Margaux Mersie of Michel Lafon.

“The problem is that al-Ahdel’s position is upheld in Yemeni law. There are plenty of judges who support him and are unsympathetic [to Nujood].”

This is not just about one, there are many: Day of the Girl: End Child Marriage explains …

… A silent global crisis, it is estimated that 10 million girls under 18 are given or sold into marriage each year.

For eight years, Pulitzer Center grantee Stephanie Sinclair followed child marriage in several countries, which resulted in the much lauded Too Young to Wed project and video. Today, Stephanie, the VII photo cooperative and the UN Population Fund launched a new transmedia website that allows users to learn about child marriage and take steps against it.

“If the current trend continues,” says Sinclair in the “Too Young to Wed” documentary, “more than 100 million more young girls will be married over the next decade.”

If other trends continue, millions more girls will be sold into slavery and the sex trade. Pulitzer Center grantees Meredith May and Carlos Avila Gonzalez examined kamlari, or domestic slavery, in Nepal, where girls as young as seven are sold by families seeking ways to make ends meet. In Haiti, restaveks, or child slaves, make up 10 percent of the youth population, reported grantee Carmen Russell in 2010.

Doing nothing and ignoring all this is not an option.


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