MANJU & WORLD VISION TEAM
Manju is 16 now, but when she was only 13 or 14 her parents started to look for a husband for her. This is the story of many young girls in the developing world, because it's part of their tradition and often because they can't afford to keep and educate their children.
But then Manju started going to a World Vision education programme, where she learned about why early marriage was wrong, of the negative impact it has on the health of young girls and how it cuts off a girl's education and opportunities. Empowered by what she learnt, Manju worked on convincing her parents that she shouldn't get married. Now, because of her influence, Manju's friends and the other families in her village have also pledged to let their girls finish their education before they get married.
It wasn't a straightforward decision for her family; there are real costs. But they are happy about what they've learnt from World Vision and now believe that education is more important. 'We decided to just cut back on our food,' Manju's mother says. 'We knew Manju's education was more important than that.'
WORLD VISION TEAM
A definite highlight of the week was the time we spent with the staff and volunteers from the World Vision - Nawada Area Development Programme. They were our guides and translators for the week. Each morning they would lead a time of prayer in the office before taking us out to introduce us to the people they serve.
The heart and passion they have, to create better lives for these children and their communities, was so clear. And it was equally obvious how grateful the people in these communities are, not just for the team on the ground, but also for the hundreds of New Zealand sponsors.
The World Vision Nawada team doesn't just look a little like a pop band in this photo - we think they truly are rock stars for the amazing work they do.
Every girl deserves to live her dreams, not to live in fear. Fear of exploitation, of being kept out of school and married too young. We'd love you to stand with us and empower more young girls. Over the next few weeks, become one of 1,000 Kiwis sponsoring a girl in the developing world!