Rhoda Grant MSP Joins Local School Girl to Speak Out on Child Marriage

By Reporter, The HighLand Times, Monday April 10 2017

Rhoda Grant MSP with Isla Alexander-McGarry of Dunoon Grammar School.

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, recently marked International Women’s Day by joining Isla Alexander-McGarry, a 17-year-old school girl from Dunoon Grammar School, to speak out on child marriage - an issue which affects more than 700 million women around the world today who have been married as children.

Isla was asked by international development charity Tearfund Scotland to speak at an event in the Scottish Parliament on behalf of a girl in Malawi of a similar age, to share her powerful story and highlight the charity’s work to rescue girls in the region caught up in this harmful practice.

In Malawi, half of girls are married by their 18th birthday, with some as young as aged 9 or 10 being forced to marry.

Tearfund is working through the local community to put an end to child marriage and provide opportunities for young people to return to education and pursue a brighter future.

They are also working to prevent many more young people from finding themselves caught up in marriages against their will.

Rhoda Grant was delighted to meet Isla and highlight this important issue.

Mrs Grant said:

“I was delighted to meet with Isla to hear about her work on this hugely important issue which affects so many women throughout the world today. 

“Isla is to be commended for her fantastic efforts in raising awareness on this and in working together with Tearfund Scotland to highlight the matter. 

Isla Alexander-McGarry said:

“It is really heart-breaking to think of someone the same age as me going through something like this.

“These girls need someone to rescue them, they need help and to have Tearfund there to support them and to guide them back to education, that is a really great project.

“Personally, my ambition is go to university and become a primary school teacher.

“I really hope that the girls in Malawi can follow their dreams too, just the same as anyone here can, because everyone deserves a chance to fulfil their dreams and follow their heart."

Lynne Paterson, Director of Tearfund Scotland, said:

“This International Women’s Day we celebrated the significant impact Tearfund’s project has had in communities across the north of Malawi, where more and more young girls are back in school where they are able to flourish and learn.

“When a girl is educated, not only does it give her more choices and greater self-confidence, but it also contributes to society as a whole, helping to break the cycle of poverty.

“We are grateful to Rhoda Grant MSP and Isla Alexander-McGarry for their help to highlight this issue and the work we are doing to ensure it becomes a thing of the past.”

Tearfund Scotland has also launched a photo exhibition telling the hard-hitting stories of 7 girls whose lives have been transformed as a result of this project.

To find out more, visit www.tearfund.org/7girlsmalawi



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