Since the war broke out in Syria, child marriage rates have risen sharply. Before the war, child marriage did happen, but conflict has exacerbated many of the factors that push families into marrying their daughters off, such as insecurity, poverty and lack of education. In just three years from 2011 to 2014, child marriage rates increased almost threefold.
Hanan is living in a refugee community in Lebanon. She receives support from Girls Not Brides member SB Overseas. SB Overseas runs education programmes to help young refugees get back into the school system. They also run educational support programmes for older children, awareness sessions and psychological support sessions for children and young people. They also teach women vocational skills so they can support themselves and their families, and distribute clothing and aid.
My name is Hanan.
I am 16 years old and I’m from Syria.
When I was in Syria, I was in school.
I was able to go play with my friends and I was very happy.
When I came to Lebanon, I was no longer allowed to study or see my friends, my neighbours, or get together with anyone.
When I got married I was 13 years old.
And I had a really big responsibility.
I could not handle the cooking or the housework. It was a huge responsibility.
I used to look at my friends, and wish I could return to the days of childhood again.
My dream now is to finish my education and become a doctor.
I want to give a message to every girl out there: focus on your education and the goals you have set for yourself.
Do not leave your education at an early age. Keep up a sense of ambition
Narrative provided by Girls Not Brides