IMAGE: empowering child brides in India

Almost half of girls in India marry before age 18. Many child brides rarely go to school still. They live in poverty, often abused by their husbands. Our IMAGE (Initiative for married adolescent girls’ empowerment) programme makes these girls stronger. We help them stand up for themselves. We offer them a place for professional skills training. We educate their communities to better protect them. Join our fight.

Thangam Ponpandian

Country Manager, India

"With this unique program we uncover serious problems such as domestic violence, early school leaving, forced sex, health and reproductive issues, hard work and social isolation. But not only do we make the dangers of child marriages visible, we also offer concrete help".
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We take a stand against child brides

In large parts of India, it is a custom for girls to marry young. Almost half marry before age 18. Many people see this as a safeguard against premarital sex and bringing shame to their families.

Marrying young has enormous disadvantages. The girls have children early and rarely still go to school. Many cannot do arithmetic or write. This keeps them from earning incomes. They continue to live in poverty and must completely depend on spouses. Abuse within child marriages is common. 

Girls from broken child marriages often end up on the street. They are highly vulnerable to sexual exploitation. We take a stand against child marriage and child exploitation. Join our fight.

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We fight ritual female genital mutilation and child marriage with protection and knowledge. In Tanzania, we want better protection for young girls, in particular. We want forced mutilation rituals to stop. 



Promote self-confidence


Advocate for clear laws


Our IMAGE programme name is an acronym standing for the Initiative for Married Adolescent Girls' Empowerment. Started in India, IMAGE aims to empower married girls, giving them a say. That way they can stand up and better care for themselves. 

IMAGE helps girls defend their rights. Through meetings, we do awareness-raising about health, nutrition and how to better care for their own children.

We provide girls a safe place. We provide therapy and medical help as needed. We provide training so they can learn skills for jobs that pay better. This way they become less dependent and improve circumstances for themselves and their families. 

We also help their spouses, families and communities better respect the girls’ rights and promote their safety and care. We motivate religious leaders to support the girls in their development and abolish child marriages.

We appeal to governments’ legal responsibility to better protect these girls. Our political actions aim to make 18 the minimum marriage age. We take a stand against the damaging effects of young marriages and the exploitation of children as brides. Join our fight.

Our approach is working

A community with more attention to the rights of children – girls first and foremost
We have worked hard for more protection for the girls of the Kuria people. It is nice to see that our approach is paying off in Tanzania. The results are promising.

Awareness raising

Alternative rituals

Laws and regulations

Female genital mutilation


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