Early marriage among refugees in Lebanon is robbing Syria’s girls of their adolescence and future.

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The International Day of the Girl Child (IDGC) on 11 October recognizes the unique challenges girls worldwide face — including being subjected to early marriage. In Lebanon, nearly one in four Syrian girls is estimated to have been married off by her parents before the age of 18.

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Amal (centre), in Rawda in Bekaa, is 14. A month ago, she got engaged to a 28-year-old man her family knows from the Syrian Arab Republic.

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Once married, girls tend to drop out of school, depriving them of their right to education. “Here, I am mostly at home helping my mother…I miss school,” Amal (right) says.

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Islam (left), 12, in Rawda, wants to continue her studies and has so far refused to get married. “I know I’m too young, but I might have to say Yes if my father forces me.”

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Refugee parents often arrange early marriages for their girls to ease the family’s financial burden. Nour, 13, and her husband, 27, in Jeb Janine in Bekaa.

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Sumayya, 14, with her mother, in Jeb Janine. She refused to get married, and her mother supports her decision. Empowering girls protects their rights and their future.


Photos by Laura Aggio Caldon, written by Olga Chambers, edited by Lisa Adelson.

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