You can help stop violence against children, including early marriage, which is escalating due to COVID-19.

My parents accepted the dowry, so I was made a wife by force.

- Mary (name changed to protect identity)

Families living in extreme poverty are being pushed into desperate measures to survive the economic impacts of coronavirus.

In countries like Kenya, young girls such as Mary, aged 15, are more vulnerable to child marriage than ever before. 

When an elderly man offered her father a dowry of cattle to marry her, Mary vigorously rejected the idea. She thought her father had respected her decision.

But a few days later, on her way to fetch water, strange men abducted her. They forcefully took Mary to the elderly man’s house to be his wife.

Unable to come to terms with her new reality, Mary took her chances and escaped from her husband’s home four days after her abduction.

Through the kindness of strangers, she found her way to a World Vision rescue centre for children fleeing situations like early marriage.

The generational impact of early marriage

Every minute, around 23 girls under the age of 18 become child brides. Being married early can place a girl’s health at grave risk from pregnancy and childbirth complications. Most girls who marry early are forced to drop out of school. With their education cut short, girls who marry early and their children are more likely to remain in poverty. 

4 million more

girls face early marriage in the next 2 years due to COVID-19.

1 in 9 girls

are married before they reach the age of 15.

1 in 5 women

globally were married before their 18th birthday.

You’re invited to help stop violence against children and protect girls' freedom to choose who and when they marry.

You can help stop child marriage

Childhood restored

When Joytun’s mother Shahanaz had a stroke, she had to leave school and go work in a bakery. 

Co-workers shouted at her to work faster. And then one day, an open cooking flame caught her scarf. She was burned from her face down to her hips.

When World Vision staff in Bangladesh learned about Joytun’s struggles, they convinced Shahanaz to let her attend a World Vision informal learning centre. These centres help street and working children catch up on their education and return to formal schooling.

Our team also helped Joytun’s mother set up a small grocery business so she wouldn’t need to send Joytun out to work. The shop brings in more money than Joytun could ever make working in the bakery.

Joytun now looks to the future with excitement. She’s back in school and studying hard to pass her exams. 

World Vision Child Protection - Joytun and Shahanaz

When I worked in the bakery, I have seen how cruel people are. In the (learning) centre, I have seen how soft, how lovely, how gentle people could be.

- Joytun, aged 16

The impact World Vision supporters are making happen*

1.6 million people

in Bangladesh attended World Vision awareness sessions on how to end violence against children and improve child protection.

104 million children

in 36 countries are safer because of 183 policy changes enacted to address violence affecting children.

225 Child
Protection Units

have been set up in communities where we work in India to identify and help prevent child exploitation and abuse.

221,856 parents
and caregivers

around the world have been trained on children’s rights and how to protect them.

* Support provided by World Vision donors around the world in 2017-2018.

Join a special group of supporters protecting children from violence and exploitation.

Sakib works long hours in dangerous conditions charging batteries and fixing electric motors. He’s received painful electric shocks at least three times.

In countries like Bangladesh, many children are working in dirty, dangerous conditions to earn money for their families instead of going to school.

Sakib is one of those children. He’s just 13, but every day he goes to work in a machine shop, earning little more than $5 to bring home to his widowed mother.

His hands bear the scars of working with sharp and heavy tools. And with every hour he spends working, a little more of his childhood slips away.

Our work to combat crimes against children builds five layers of protection:


Empowering children with knowledge of their rights and practical skills to protect themselves and one another.


Strengthening families with parenting skills and social and economic support so they can provide the first line of protection.


Partnering with communities to create a protective environment that values all boys and girls, especially the most vulnerable.


Mobilising local leaders, including faith leaders, to use their influence in the service of protecting children.


Influencing governments by working with local agencies to improve or implement child protection laws and policies.

Donate today

You can help provide safety, security and hope for abused and exploited children around the world.


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