Some 40 girls saved from becoming child brides with help of neighborhood head
A local head in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır has saved 40 girls from becoming child brides after she installed a “wish box” in her town in which girls put their wishes – most of which said they did not want to get married off at such a young age.
The first thing Dilek Demir, who, herself, was also forcibly married as a child, did eight years ago when she was elected to head the Muradiye neighborhood of Bağlar district was to hang the wish box at the entrance of her office.
She asked residents to write their wishes in letters and throw them in the wish box. Over time, she started receiving letters from girls or their relatives asking for help not to marry them off.
“I was 14 when I wore a bridal gown. My father took me out of school, beat me up and forcibly married me off to my ex-husband,” Demir told Demirören News Agency.
“I wanted to become a police officer. The right to education should not be taken away from girls. This was a promise I made to myself,” she added.
Demir, who divorced her husband 17 years ago, saved some 40 girls from becoming child brides throughout her time in office.
“Most of them finished high school. Some of them have jobs. This wish box saved lives,” she noted.
She also assured young girls they can continue to write to her. “Only I have the key to the box. No one, but I can see the letters. So, keep on posting to me if you are in danger of becoming a bride,” she said.