Students, not brides
In fact, Rosanna’s potential could have been extinguished at the moment when her new husband demanded that she end her education – a demand imposed on many child brides. But Rosanna was exceptionally courageous and refused, claiming control of her own future. Unfortunately, most child brides do not have that option, and end up facing a far bleaker fate.
When girls like Rosanna stay in education, instead of marrying early, the benefits are not theirs alone; their countries’ economies gain as well. If Niger, for example, were to end child marriage by 2030, the combination of higher educational attainment and lower fertility rates would leave the country $25 bln richer than it was in 2015. That should be enough to make any government pay attention.
But the benefits of education extend far beyond statistics. After all, students do not just learn subjects like math, science, and literacy at school. They also develop friendships and learn life skills, such as how to articulate opinions, negotiate, listen, and be respectful toward others. All of these lessons help to boost not just their earning power, but also their confidence and capacity to participate in public life.
Beyond creating a better life for herself, an educated, empowered girl supports the prosperity of members of her family and wider community – including fathers, brothers, and husbands, as much as