As an ambassador for Plan International Hong Kong, actress Leila Tong (唐寧) traveled to remote areas of Indonesia to visit child brides-to-be in the countryside. Leila spoke passionately against the practice, which robs the girls of their childhood and education.
Leila, who is one quarter Indonesian, stayed with various families for seven days. With her visit, Leila hopes that more people will support the “Because I Am A Girl” campaign, which aims to support millions of girls to get the education, skills and support they need to improve their lives.
Sexism plays a role in contributing to the mortality rate of young girls in developing countries. Girls are more likely to be denied access to education than boys, and are more likely to be malnourished and live in poverty. Every year, one in three girls get married before they turn 18 in developing countries. Some child brides are as young as 8 or 9 years old.
Leila, a mother of one son and one daughter, is deeply concerned about the traditional sexism that many young girls still face in modern developing societies. “Being a mother is supposed to be a happy occasion, but in many parts of the world, many girls are forced to get married at young ages. They are stripped of their chances to an education, and have to be pregnant and become a mother. Because these girls are not fully mature, their babies are more likely to die after they’re born. This really affects the mother’s ability to bear more children in the future, and gives them irreversible psychological trauma.”
This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.