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Child Brides, Syrian Refugees: These Groups May Be Able To Help: #15Girls

Girls start the day with a prayer at the Veerni Institute in Jodhpur, India. It's a boarding school where nearly half the students are child brides.
Poulomi Basu
VII Photo
Girls start the day with a prayer at the Veerni Institute in Jodhpur, India. It's a boarding school where nearly half the students are child brides.

What can we do to help?

Of all the questions from our audience about NPR's #15Girls series, that was the most common.

It's a simple question. "I wish I had an easy answer," says Rebecca Hersher, who reported on girls trying to get straight A's in Afghanistan.

Consider the situation of Fatmeh, the Syrian refugee girl in Lebanon who is picking potatoes instead of going to school.

Lauren Fisher from World Vision, an organization that runs programs for Syrian refugees, offers two realities: If Fatmeh is pulled out of work to go to school, who will help provide income for her family? And at 15, she's too old for Lebanese public school — what is her alternative?

"We wish difficult situations like [hers] could be solved simply by writing a check, but it's sadly not that easy," says Fisher. "In many cases, the wrong thing could do more harm than good."

NPR does not endorse specific charities, but our correspondents did identify a number of charities that address the issues faced by the girls in our series.

We're providing links, but we can't tell you how to channel your good intentions. You need to check out the organizations and decide for yourself.

Child brides in India

The Veerni Institute, an Indian nonprofit focusing on education for girls and women in rural Rajasthan, runs the school that child bride Nimmu attends in Jodphur.

Girls Not Brides is a global partnership of nonprofit organizations in 75 countries that work to end child marriage. Its website has a map listing the activities of each group by country.

International Center for Research on Women does extensive research in both India, and internationally, on child marriage and other problems affecting women such as domestic violence. So they may be a useful resource for audience members seeking additional information.

Girls in Nepal who need support when they are menstruating

WaterAid works to bring clean water, improved sanitation and education on hygiene to poor communities. The group uses local partners to also provide education on menstrual hygiene, menstrual supplies and "girl-friendly" toilets in local schools.

Girls who face discrimination for playing soccer in Brazil

Estrela Sports, a Brazilian nonprofit, provides volunteer soccer coaches for Brazilian teen girls like Lala and Milena from our #15Girls story.

Zambian girls using Harvard negotiation skills to fight for a better future

FAWEZA (Forum for African Women Educationalists of Zambia), a Zambian NGO, delivers Harvard's negotiation curriculum to students throughout Zambia and also helps cover school fees of Zambian girls through scholarships.

Smart girls in Afghanistan who want to go to college

Medicines Sans Frontieres Afghanistan delivers emergency aid to those affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters and exclusion from healthcare.

International Rescue Committee Afghanistan, a global disaster response group, focuses on education and development in Afghanistan.

Syrian refugee girls in Lebanon

World Vision has assisted more than 2 million Syrian refugees with education, clean water and hygiene, child protection and health in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and other countries where Syrian refugees are displaced.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Malaka Gharib is the deputy editor and digital strategist on NPR's global health and development team. She covers topics such as the refugee crisis, gender equality and women's health. Her work as part of NPR's reporting teams has been recognized with two Gracie Awards: in 2019 for How To Raise A Human, a series on global parenting, and in 2015 for #15Girls, a series that profiled teen girls around the world.
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