It was the middle of the night in Kenya, and 11-year-old Miriam was hiding outside a stranger’s house, waiting to talk to the woman who lived inside. Miriam hadn’t met her before, but she knew her name: Dr. Kakenya Ntaiya, who ran a school for girls at risk of child marriage.
When Dr. Ntaiya emerged, Miriam told her everything—how she’d just finished fourth grade, how her father had died in an accident, how her family was running low on money, and how, to help pay the bills, they were planning to marry her off for a dowry. Miriam had already seen her friends marry and quit school. She was desperate to avoid that—and Dr. Ntaiya was her only hope.
Each year, an estimated 12 million girls around the world, including in the United States and Europe, find themselves in Miriam’s situation because they’re caught in a web of economic, educational, and cultural systems that deprive them of choices and opportunities.
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