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In Turkey, one out of five women between the ages of 20-49 got married before the age of 18. One out of every three women who got married before the age of 18 became a mother at a child age. UNFPA Turkey, with the financial support of the Sabancı Foundation and in cooperation with the Life, Women, Environment, Culture and Business Cooperative (YAKA-KOOP), goes door to door to end child marriages and works shoulder to shoulder with tradespeople and community leaders along with families.

 


Hanife Nayan, Hairdresser, Van

“We do not brush bride's hair in child marriages.”

“I myself got married at a young age, but of course, we did not know. Previously, our girls used to come to the hairdresser’s salon, we used to do their bridal hair. We never asked how old they were. After meeting with this project, we are now asking brides how old they are because we are against child marriages. Now, I and other hairdresser friends have become aware of this issue, we do not do bridal hair for those at a young age.”

 


Çetin Karaduman, Tailor & Head of the Van Tailors Confectioners Shoemakers and Clothing Craftsmen Chamber of Commerce​​​​​

"We do not sell wedding dresses to girls, nor do we sew groom suits for boys.”

“I definitely do not find child marriages right. I also do not approve of parents who marry their children. What is marriage? Why are people getting married? In fact, these should be taught in schools as a subject. They are still children, how will they start a family? We neither sell wedding dresses to girls nor make groom suits for boys. We have a lot of members who sell wedding dresses. We told this to all our friends. They don't do it anymore either.”

 


Sedat Yıldırım Çakar, Pastry Chef, Van​​​​​

“We do not make wedding cakes for child marriages.”

“I'm a pastry chef. We work with many wedding halls and businesses, we make cakes for weddings. But if the wedding is for a child, we do not send a cake there. We are against child marriages because early marriage means taking away the dreams and future of children. That's why we don't make cakes for child marriages.”

 


Ercan Demirci, Printer, Van

“If it is a child marriage, we don't print the wedding invitation.”

“Child marriage is an ongoing problem. There is a fight against child marriages here that we support as much as we can. We are printers. We print wedding invitations. When we suspect if there is an early marriage, if the bride is at a child age, we do not print these invitations. We also raise awareness of other tradespeople around us, so that they can also stand against child marriages.”

 


Nurten Sağlam, Bahçıvan District Mukhtar, Van

“I’m calling out to parents, do not marry your children at an early age.”

“Child marriages, regardless of gender, cause a lot of trouble. However, it can cause more problems, especially for girls. Children can feel depressed, have health problems, and even commit suicide. Unfortunately, we know that children who got married at an early age, especially in rural areas, cannot bear this burden after a while and unfortunately attempt suicide. That's why I'm calling out to the parents. Do not marry your children at an early age.”

 

Prevention of Child, Early and Forced Marriages

These stories are from the Van leg of the Prevention of Child Marriage Project run by UNFPA Turkey with the Sabancı Foundation in collaboration with the Life, Women, Environment, Culture and Business Cooperative (YAKA-KOOP).

The second phase of the project was completed in Nevşehir and Van. UNFPA continues to work in Turkey’s remotest areas to end child, early and forced marriages by raising awareness about the health risks and consequences of it to ensure that comprehensive intervention mechanisms are established at the local level for a stronger capacity, and in this way, for all children and young people to use their full potential. The third phase of the project will be kicked off very soon.