Considering child marriage to be a violation of human rights that robs young girls of their health, education and future prospects, Amerah Saleh wants to help put a stop to the practice.
Her story was shown on ITV News Central on Thursday 4th December.
Amerah, who was born in Birmingham but whose family is originally from Yemen, hopes to prevent more girls aged under 18 from becoming child brides.
She wants to educate people in communities where it’s a tradition, highlighting that it’s a criminal offence to force someone into a marriage.
‘When I was nine, we moved to Yemen for a few years and I saw child brides,’ explains 21-year-old Amerah.
'I think the youngest was around 13 and the oldest 15 - getting married to men that were much older than them.
‘Seeing that happen was terrifying. I thought there was something unnatural about it.
‘My Fixers project is to raise awareness of child brides and the fact that it happens here in the Midlands.
‘British girls are being taken out of school by their families and taken back home to wherever they’re from to get married.
‘But it’s also happening here within communities that we don’t hear about - smaller communities that are very hard to get into.’
With Fixers, Amerah and her team have been working on a street performance about child brides.
The spoken word artist has also helped create a flyer to be handed out to audience members during the performance.
She hopes that by providing information about child marriage it will raise awareness of the issue, while encouraging people in Birmingham to talk about it.
Click on the images below to enlarge the pages of Amerah’s Fixers flyer.
A young woman forced to run away from home in order to escape marriage shares her story in the broadcast piece.
She's followed by Diana Nammi, Executive Director at the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation, who also appears in the film in support of Amerah’s campaign.
‘We need young girls like Amerah to be at the front of this movement to send a message to everyone that child marriage is wrong and is child abuse,’ Diana comments.
‘Many children from the age of 7 or 8 know they will be at risk of forced marriage, but they don’t know that they have rights not to be forced into a marriage.’
Amerah adds: ‘I think people in the Midlands need to be concerned because it could be happening to their neighbour and they have no idea.
‘People need to understand that they’ve been born into a community where this is tradition. But it’s wrong.’
This project is supported by the Youth Social Action Fund (YSAF).
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Fixer Linda Gyamfi is also encouraging communities to speak openly
about cultural differences. Watch her TV story.