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Fatouma and Her Commitment to Pay It Forward
June 15, 2022
In VOW’s work to end child marriage, we have found that often those who have been at risk of child marriage are some of the most passionate advocates for other girls. One of the fiercest allies we have come across is a young woman named Fatouma. Now 21, she was just 12 years old when her mother tried to marry her off as a way to ease the family’s financial burden after her father’s death.

“I asked her to let me continue going to school, but she refused,” said Fatouma. With no other option available, Fatouma dropped out of school and left home to avoid child marriage. Luckily, her grandmother stepped in and helped her get involved with a local organization that VOW funds called Agir Plus. They support girls forced to leave school by helping them build skills that will allow them to support themselves.
Today, Fatouma works for the very organization that helped her escape child marriage. In addition to working directly with the young women in the program, she engages with local mothers to educate them on the benefits of letting their daughters decide about marriage for themselves.
“When I hear a girl is going to be married, I intervene. I go to the parents and make sure they know about the dangers of marrying off little girls.” To date, Fatouma has prevented more than a dozen child marriages.

Fatouma Blog Body Photo
Photo Credit: Alexandre Bonneau

VOW funding not only helps to prevent child marriage, it is helping to create a generation of young girls’ who feel empowered to own their future. Young women like Fatouma, who are unafraid to use their voice and willing to pay it forward, will help us end child marriage in our lifetime.
About VOW for Girls

From wedding registry donations to partner product purchases, everything donated to VOW (that’s 100% of donations!) goes directly to community-driven efforts to help girls around the world. Our grantees, which are mainly women-led local organizations, use the funding we provide to directly support girls.Twelve million girls a year, some as young as 8, become child brides. VOW is a global movement of the wedding industry community, partners and couples who are dedicated to a world where no child is ever a bride and where every girl has the chance to live the life she loves.If you’re in the wedding industry and you’re interested in becoming involved, please find more wedding inspiration and advice in our blog, consider becoming a VOW Pro partner and learning more about VOW’s mission to end child marriage. If you’re an engaged couple and want to learn more about supporting VOW, please visit our couples page. We can’t wait to see what good we can do together!
Learn More About Fatouma and Her Powerful Journey