A new report uncovers the state of child marriage today. All eyes are on 26 countries.
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When she was 15, Jobeda Begum came home from school to find out she was getting married. The very next day.

She had no say in the matter. What a moment for a 15-year-old.


All images courtesy of CARE.

"I wanted to study to 12th grade," she said in a new report from CARE. "I wanted to be a teacher. That was back then. It's gone now. It's a dream long gone."

Sadly, Jobeda's story — getting married, dropping out of school, and getting pregnant, all at a very young age — isn't unique.

It's a reality that CARE is committed to changing. In their new report, "Vows of Poverty," the organization is taking a closer look at the 26 countries where girls are more likely to walk down the aisle than attend and complete secondary school. The three countries that come in last? Central African Republic, Chad, and Niger. You can read the full country list here.

Every day, 39,000 young girls — just like Jobeda — suddenly find themselves married.

Some are as young as 8 years old. Can you imagine?

Though child marriage rates are down globally, it's still happening ... a lot.

Early marriages are motivated by economic insecurity, religious and cultural customs, human trafficking, inadequate laws, and more. But regardless of the reasons, it almost always cuts a girl's education short and keeps her from living to her full potential.

That's why the work from CARE, Girls Not Brides, and the Let Girls Learn initiative from first lady Michelle Obama is so important to reducing the practice and allowing girls to choose their own paths in life.

It's not just about the quality of their lives. It's about the quality of our world.

A young woman's income-generating potential increases by 20% for every school year she completes beyond fourth grade. When countries put early marriage before a girl's education, it's a sure way to stay in poverty.

It also keeps our world from being its very strongest.

"When girls cannot go to school and grow up not knowing how to read or write, that denies the world future women engineers, future women doctors, future women business owners, future women presidents," said President Obama. "That sets us all back."

Thankfully, we're in a better position than ever to help change the course of history for millions of girls — and our world. And there's reason to believe it's already happening.

13-year-old Nishi Moni is one of several girls in Bangladesh who may well avoid forced early marriage.

She's been working with a local woman's empowerment group called EKATA on the harmful effects of early marriage. Together, they've been discussing with her parents and urging them not to force their young daughters into the practice.

This is how minds are changed — one at a time.

But we can do more, and we must. Today there are 700 million women who were forced to marry as girls. If nothing more is done, another 500 million will join them by 2050.

Not if we can help it.

It takes just a few seconds to show you're paying attention to millions of girls just like Jobeda and Nishi. Want to support an end to child marriage around the world? Add your name here.

Here's to a smarter, richer, more powerful world where all girls get the chance to shine. We'll all be so much better off for it. <3

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

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This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


*Upworthy may earn a portion of sales revenue from purchases made through affiliate links on our site.

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Over the past six years, it feels like race relations have been on the decline in the U.S. We've lived through Donald Trump's appeals to America's racist underbelly. The nation has endured countless murders of unarmed Black people by police. We've also been bombarded with viral videos of people calling the police on people of color for simply going about their daily lives.

Earlier this year there was a series of incidents in which Asian-Americans were the targets of racist attacks inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given all that we've seen in the past half-decade, it makes sense for many to believe that race relations in the U.S. are on the decline.

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Photo courtesy of Macy's
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Did you know that girls who are encouraged to discover and develop their strengths tend to be more likely to achieve their goals? It's true. The question, however, is how to encourage girls to develop self-confidence and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.

The answer lies in Girls Inc., a national nonprofit serving girls ages 5-18 in more than 350 cities across North America. Since first forming in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War, they've been on a mission to inspire girls to kick butt and step into leadership roles — today and in the future.

This is why Macy's has committed to partnering with Girls Inc. and making it easy to support their mission. In a national campaign running throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases to the nearest dollar or donate online to support Girls Inc. and empower girls throughout the country.


Kaylin St. Victor, a senior at Brentwood High School in New York, is one of those girls. She became involved in the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc. when she was in 9th grade, quickly becoming a role model for her peers.

Photo courtesy of Macy's

Within her first year in the organization, she bravely took on speaking opportunities and participated in several summer programs focused on advocacy, leadership, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). "The women that I met each have a story that inspires me to become a better person than I was yesterday," said St. Victor. She credits her time at Girls Inc. with making her stronger and more comfortable in her own skin — confidence that directly translates to high achievement in education and the workforce.

In 2020, Macy's helped raise $1.3 million in support of their STEM and college and career readiness programming for more than 26,000 girls. In fact, according to a recent study, Girls Inc. girls are significantly more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, to be interested in STEM careers, and to perform better on standardized math tests.

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