The Lotus Flower has partnered with Girls Not Brides and joined their global network of civil society organisations that are committed to eliminating child marriage.
According to Girls Not Brides, child marriage is any formal marriage or informal union where one or both of the parties are under 18 years of age. Every year, 12 million girls are married before they are 18 years old.
In Iraq, the legal age for marriage is 18 for both boys and girls but a girl can marry when she is 15 years old with parental consent. Poverty, protracted violent conflict, and religious and social traditions tend to be drivers of child marriage. Economic hardship, driven by decades of war and sanctions, has increased the number of child brides. According to UNICEF, 1 in 5 girls are married before the age of 18.
The Lotus Flower Women's Centres provide awareness and educational sessions on the impact of child marriage. Considered a human rights violation, child marriage deprives girls of their freedom and rights to education, health, and safety. They are more likely to experience health complications and domestic violence. Child marriage also enables the continuation of poverty through generations. By offering awareness sessions to women and girls in the communities where we live and work, The Lotus Flower aims to encourage women and girls to seek limitless opportunities through education, job training, and building their own community.