Child Protection

Saved from early marriage at age 10

Today's post brings us a story of tragedy turned to hope from Ethiopia, where 10-year-old Masresha was forced into early marriage by her family. In many developing countries, this is a harsh reality faced by young girls, as depicted in the film Girl Rising.

Q&A with an [almost] child bride

Shapla in Bangladesh was devastated when her parents arranged a marriage that would force her to drop out of school.

But thanks to World Vision, when Shapla told her friends about her situation, they knew what to do. Shapla's friends had completed a life-skills education course, and they were able to contact community leaders, who advocated for Shapla.

Read on to learn how Shapla escaped what she calls the "cave of death" -- and how her story represents World Vision's efforts to create futures of dignity and hope for girls and women.

When girls pay a terrible price for living in poverty

The United Nations has declared October 11 as International Day of the Girl. As illustrated by the tragic story of Mao* in Cambodia, extreme poverty often prevents girls from getting an education and leaves them vulnerable to the worst kinds of exploitation.

World Vision works globally to help change this reality -- and to empower girls and women to reach their full, God-given potential.

The glamor of a brothel raid

Rich Stearns, president of World Vision U.S., shares a story from his recent visit to Cambodia that highlights the numerous interventions required to fight poverty, injustice, and oppression -- those that are dramatic and highly-publicized, as well as those that are less conspicuous but equally critical.

Standing side-by-side with northern Uganda

You may have noticed that there’s been a lot of talk recently about Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). That’s a good thing.

Kony and the LRA terrorized northern Uganda for 20 years. They continue to terrorize the people of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Sudan, and Central African Republic. It’s now time for you to harness your attention and passion: Act to do the most good for the children most hurt by Kony’s campaign of terror.

The LRA continues to kill, maim, and abduct children in DRC, South Sudan, and Central African Republic. Mercifully, though, peace has come to northern Uganda. We now have the opportunity to join hand-in-hand with the people of this region to build a bright future for them and their children.

World Vision is partnering with communities across Uganda to ensure that the conditions that allowed the LRA to form in the first place are never allowed to emerge again.

You can now join in that partnership.

Is chocolate your guilty pleasure?

Abdul is 10 years old.  While many children his age are in school, Abdul spends his days harvesting a bean that is an essential ingredient to a symbol of decadence, love, and happiness in the western world. But to him, it represents pain, toil, and sadness.

Abdul is a child slave working on a cocoa farm in Cote D’Ivoire -- where 35 percent of the world’s cocoa originates -- to make the chocolate you and I love.  Abdul has never tasted chocolate. He says he does not even know how cocoa beans are used.

Millions of Melkas

More than 60 percent of Ethiopian girls will be married before they are 17. It's a startling fact.

But when we see and hear the story of a girl who was forced into marriage when she was just 14 years old, statistics are transformed from mere numbers to a face. To a voice. To reality.

Participating in protection

Editor's note: The following is a message that was shared with our staff around the world from Kevin Jenkins, president of World Vision International. As we share it here, we hope you find it as intriguing and worthwhile as we do.

What helps children to prepare for -- and cope successfully with -- disasters?

Why not ask them?

With that simple question in mind, five organizations who regularly deal with crisis situations -- including World Vision -- asked 600 children in 21 disaster-vulnerable countries around the world what they thought.

The answers were so powerful and informative that we turned them into a Children’s Charter for Disaster Risk Reduction, and presented them on May 12 to the third session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Hard facts about labor trafficking

When I was 15 years old, I got my first job as a lifeguard. Before I started, I had to obtain a work permit with my parents' consent and the consultation of my school. There were strict rules governing the hours between which I was allowed to work, as well as how many hours I was allowed to work per week while school was in session. All of these regulations were in place because I was a minor.

I resented them at the time. As an adolescent who longed to be treated as an adult -- and who wanted to earn my own money -- I thought the state had no business telling me when, where, or for how long I could work. It seemed deeply patronizing.

I didn't realize that labor laws in the United States are enforced to prevent workers, especially children, from being exploited. And I certainly didn't understand that in other parts of the world, where such laws either don't exist or are inadequately enforced, the effects of labor trafficking are devastating. I was a middle-class suburban kid. The notion of children, my age or younger, toiling in dirty, dangerous conditions, unable to go to school while earning little or no compensation, was foreign to me.

But it happens -- to hundreds of millions of children and adults around the world. It can tear apart families and ruin children's futures. That's why World Vision is committed to fighting it.

In recognition of World Day Against Child Labor, June 12, World Vision has released a new report, "10 Things You Need to Know About Labor Trafficking in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region." Though focused particularly on Southeast Asia, the report highlights truths about exploitative labor that are relevant worldwide. How much do you know about it? Read these facts. Then, take action.


1. Men are trafficked onto fishing boats and held as prisoners. Though trafficking has historically been associated with women and children, men are equally vulnerable in Southeast Asia's fishing industry. Hard, dangerous conditions on the job create a labor shortage that leaves men at risk of being held captive at sea for months or years at a time.

Birth registration: The first step in child protection

Editor's note: Birth registration -- documentation that ensures the government knows you exist -- is a growing issue worldwide, especially in fragile states where governments are either unable or unwilling to implement effective birth registration policies. For more on the importance of birth registration, read "Why registration matters: Children are cared for and protected."

When you think about congressional testimony, you think about big rooms, hot lights, and lawmakers peering over their spectacles to ask the hard-hitting questions about the most pressing issues of the day.

When discussing the importance of child protection, you might expect an array of complex and lofty rhetoric that hints at the largeness of the issue, but fails to tackle the concrete steps that a nation, community, or individual can take to ensure that children are protected from abuse, neglect, exploitation, and violence.

In a congressional hearing that deals with child protection, you can expect to hear lots of statements and suggestions. But do you really expect to hear about birth registration?

Cartoon wisdom

One of my eccentric hobbies is discovering theological insights from animated cartoons. A favorite is “Road Runner.” The dastardly coyote is always devising ever-more fantastic means to capture the elusive bird, but his wicked schemes invariably and hilariously backfire, causing maximum pain and humiliation for the coyote....

Why registration matters: Children are cared for and protected

It’s the middle of the night in the Albanian capital city of Tirana. Romeo looks into the policemen’s eyes. He tells them his name. They go to look him up. They find no record of little Romeo. They don’t know where he was born, who his parents are, or how old he really is. They ask each other, “Who is this kid?” Do you remember when you got...