Turkey's Changemakers - Fark Yaratanlar Muş Kadın Derneği (S04- E09)

Uploaded by turkeychangemakers on 30.01.2013

Before reaching her eight Ünzile has become an adult
Both a woman and a child And a mother at twelve...
Written by Aysel Gürel, famous Turkish lyricist and actress and sung by Sezen Aksu, well known Turkish pop singer,
the song called “Ünzile” successfully depicted the tragedy of child brides.
This song became widely known throughout the country but the child brides always remained silent.
Being a woman and a child at the same time, the girls like Ünzile had to grow up at the age of eight and
became mothers when they were twelve. But they never broke their silence.
Women Association of Muþ was founded in 2009 by 7 women who refused to be child brides.
The members of the Association are now visiting each and every house
in order to be the voice of the girls who were forced to get married like Ünzile.
Despite the heavy falls of snow covering Muþ, an eastern city of Turkey,
they are working hard to uncover the tragedy of child brides.
When we come together with the local women during house visits,
we see the high levels of early marriage over and over again.
For example, if there are 50 women in the house, almost 45 of them are victims of early marriage.
We hear many touching stories as well.
For example, we met women who were bartered to settle a feud. There was a woman who was married off at
11 years old and had to sleep in her mother-in-law’s bed for 4-5 years until she reached puberty.
Then, we saw that women are systematically subjected to violence but are not aware of it.
The "Early Marriage is not My Destiny" project is supported under
the Sabancý Foundation Social Development Grant Program and
the members of the Women Association of Muþ are working
to raise people’s awareness on the harms of early marriage.
We regularly come together with NGOs and public institutions
to create social awareness.
We hang banners and billboards. We also organize seminars both in high schools and universities and
by making field visits we go from house to house
in every village in Muþ and Van.
During field visits, women first try to support the advantages of
early marriages and say that it is not harmful for the society and everybody is happy about it.
But towards the end of our visit,
they realize that either they or their mothers and
neighbors have similar experiences and have suffered a lot.
They share their own stories and we can observe the direct effect of these meetings on women.
Women Association of Muþ is working hard for the sake of girls
who are forced to get married while their peers are playing games.
They are visiting each and every house in Muþ and Van and try to tell people that a better future is possible.
By every candle they light on child brides,
they make a big difference in the lives of thousands of girls.