Bangladesh, 17 years
Nominated by Ashoka Innovation For The Public
Issue: Child Marriage
Influence the family, let her grow. If given the opportunity, she can become the whole world.
Moni, 17, lives in a village in northern Bangladesh. She started fighting child marriage at the age of 9, after her own sister was forced to marry a much older man who physically and sexually abused her. She has rescued more than 200 girls from child marriage, by confronting parents, informing teachers and involving the police where necessary. Her Child Marriage Eradication Club meets weekly and has 70 members, educating children and teenagers about the issues surrounding child marriage. Moni has also established a support system within her club which issues microloans to families to pay for their daughters’ education, far more useful to families, in her view, than early marriage. Moni demonstrates that it is never impossible to challenge social expectations and traditional gender roles to do what you believe is right.