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What if you were married at 5 years old?

About the Talk

June 16, 2010 3:30 PM

Town Danceboutique, Washington, DC

Town Danceboutique, Washington, DC

In November 2009 Elizabeth Gore went on an extensive observation trip to Ethiopia to highlight the critical work of United Nations agencies operating in the country. During her time in Ethiopia Mrs. Gore visited projects in both rural and urban areas related to global health, women and girls, and technology for health development. Her visits included forming personal relationships with those who were benefitting from the work of the United Nations. At UNHCR’s Mai-Aini refugee camp Mrs. Gore had the privilege of meeting a young Eritrean girl who at the age of seven walked by herself across the border from Eritrea into Ethiopia. At Biruh Tesfa, a UNFPA project, Mrs. Gore met young girls who had escaped child marriage and were now receiving informal education as a result of the work of Birush Tesfa. Biruh Tesfa works to convince the employers of these vulnerable girls to allow them to attend informal education sessions for just two hours a day. Girls such as, Zusiah Mersha, shared with Mrs. Gore how those two hours were the happiest part of their day. The heart wrenching stories only continued at Berhane Hawen, a project focused on girl’s education, a married girls program, and a community program, in an area with one of the highest child marriage rates in the world. Mrs. Gore’s visit to a Berhane Hawen project site allowed her to meet Sesuagno Mola. Sesuagno was married at the age of five and now has two children at the age of 19. Sesuagno was elated to learn that married girls could participate in the program and beamed with pride as she told Mrs. Gore that she had learned from Berhane Hawen that she could wait before having her next child. Whether in urban or rural settings Mrs. Gore was moved and inspired by the things she saw and the people she met during her time in Ethiopia.

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