We first brought you the story of Melka in Ethiopia last year. Today, we're excited to present this video depiction of the remarkable young woman's journey.
Melka was 14 years old when, to her surprise, her parents married her off to an older man from another village whom she didn't even know. When Melka resisted him later that evening, he and his friends beat her severely. She woke up in the hospital.
It's strange to realize that being beaten to the point of hospitalization was probably the best-case scenario for a girl in Melka's position. Because she went to the hospital, the police got involved, since underage marriage is illegal in Ethiopia.
Her parents and husband were arrested; her marriage annulled; and now, at 20, Melka teaches other girls about their rights as women and the negative effects of early marriage.
"When I was growing up, everyone said it was unlucky to have a daughter. To be a girl. I didn't believe that," says Melka.
Watch Melka's full story here, from World Vision's Strong Women, Strong World initiative:
The sad truth is that Melka's story is not unique. In Ethiopia, it's estimated that 60 percent of girls will be married illegally before they turn 17. And early marriage is a problem worldwide -- particularly in developing countries, where 1 in 3 girls is married before age 18, and 1 in 7 before age 15.
Read our first post from last year about Melka's story.
Learn more about World Vision's partnership with the 10x10 campaign to promote Girl Rising, a groundbreaking film that highlights the power of education to change the lives of girls -- and the world in which they live.
Sponsor a girl in Ethiopia or another country of your choice. You can be the love and support that helps a girl in need to complete her education, avoid underage marriage, and build the foundation for a future of hope.