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Norway’s first child bride tackles underage marriage

Meet 12-year-old Thea, Norway's first-ever child bride. Here she is pictured with her 37-year-old husband-to-be.

Norway’s first child bride tackles underage marriage

The young Norwegian girl will ‘walk down the aisle’ on Saturday October 11 – coincidentally also the UN’s International Day of the Girl Child.

The underage marriage, the first of its kind in the Northern European country, has sparked an outcry from the public.

In fact, Thea’s wedding blog, in which she documents her story and her views and beliefs of how married life will be, became Norway’s most read blog over the course of one day.

Many people immediately contacted child welfare authorities and the police to stop the upcoming nuptials.

Since then, thousand of people have also taken to social media to debate the subject.

The aim of the ‘wedding blog’ is to engage enough people to take immediate action and stop the nuptials before the couple say ‘I do’.

You can digitally attend the wedding and support the campaign to stop child marriages by ‘donating your voice’ to the website

Campaigners can also share a Facebook or Twitter update on the wedding day to draw attention to the 39,000 girls who are robbed of their childhood everyday through child marriage.

We believe that provocation is a powerful tool in order to demonstrate a reality that truly is very provoking. We hope people will mobilize against child marriage by being girl sponsors, so that most of the 39,000 girls facing Thea’s situation every day can escape their brutal fate,” the website reads.

Mabel van Oranje, Board Chair of Girls Not Brides, recently met with Norwegian NGOs to discuss the serious issue of child marriage.

“Our goal is to end child marriage in one generation. If we can keep this generation of girls out of marriage before age 18, we can be pretty sure that they will make sure that their daughters do not marry young either,” she said.

According to the organisation, child marriage is a traditional practice that denies 14 million girls a year their rights to health, education and protection.

“Every two seconds, a girl below the age of 18 is married with little if any say in the decision. Child marriage holds girls back and keeps their communities poor,” according to Girls Not Brides.

Contrary to popular thought, the group says one of the main driving factors behind child marriage is tradition and not religion like many may think.

“Child marriage happens in many communities because that is the way things have always been. If a family refuses to give their child away in marriage, they can be considered outcasts among the rest of the society and the chances of finding a future husband for their daughters will decrease sharply. “

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