As a woman in Australia I have lived a very fortunate life.
I have a home for my family, I have food in my belly, a bed and warm blankets every night and I am fortunate enough to give my own family these privileges each and every day.
Tonight I will tuck my children in and they will dream of school and holidays and toys. They go to sleep soundly, not fearing for their lives and knowing when they wake tomorrow there will be food on their plate and a hug from loving arms.
Not all children get such privileges though.
Somewhere else the world, young girls won’t be tucked in at all. They will find a spot on a hard floor, or cover in a laneway, and they will hope that no one touches them through the night.
They won’t be dreaming about holidays because they don’t know what one is.
They won’t be dreaming about toys because they aren’t given the opportunity for leisure time.
These girls are the same ages as our own children and each day they face a life of child labour, early marriage or sex work.
They are children – but they are not living a childhood.
Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by Save The Children. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words.
Girls like Tulasa who was married at 13 and birthed a stillborn child because she was so young.
Girls like Jamila who was trafficked at 13 and sold to a brothel where she is expected to have sex with up to six clients a day. In two years she has had three abortions. She lives in the brothel with 400 other women and young girls. There is one toilet for them to share.
Jamila has tried to escape but has nowhere to go and no education. She cannot read or write.
And she is not alone.
Shagufta is nine years old and until recently had never been to school. Instead she worked every day. She attached straps to slippers and received one rupee (two cents) for every 12 pairs of slippers.