Nada Al-Ahdal, an 11-year-old Yemenite girl, ran away from her home and family after she learned of her family's plans to marry her off to a rich, older Yemenite man living in Saudi Arabia. A short video of her describing the tradition of forced marriages in Yemen and saying she would rather die than be married off against her will circulated online, making her an unwitting spokesperson against the custom of child brides.
A few days following her escape from home, CNN reporters tracked the girl down in Sanaa. "I ran away from marriage," she said. "I ran away from ignorance. I ran away from being bought and sold."
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Al-Ahdal said she asked a friend to make the video so she could tell the world how hard it is for girls there. "I'd rather commit suicide than get engaged," she said.
Several days after the video was released, Yemen's Interior Ministry ordered to remove Nada from her uncle's house, and placed her in a women's shelter. Ramzia Al-Eryani, president of the Yemen Women's Union, was appointed Nada's temporary legal guardian.
Wants to study computers and English. Nada with her family (Photo: CNN)
Al-Eryani, one of Yemen's leading women's rights activists, was appointed Nada's guardian until the dispute could be settled.
Al-Eryani spoke with Nada's parents and her uncle, and told them: "If you love her, save her childhood. You all are adults – you all know what's best for her – but we need to protect this child.Nada leter entered the room, and was faced with allegations that her story may have been made up. "Why do you believe them and don't believe me?" She asked Al-Eryani before breaking down in tears.
"I don't care about what's best for the mom or dad or uncle," Al-Eryani said later, "just what's best for the girl."
"In the countryside, there are no English classes, there are no computer classes," Nada said, talking about her hometown. "Please let me stay in Sanaa and study here."
The family eventually agreed to move into the house of another relative in Sanaa, and see if they can work the problem out together.
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