6-year-old Afghan bride escapes marriage after U.S. lawyer's help [video]
Before a U.S. lawyer came to her rescue, 6-year-old Naghma of Afghanistan was preparing for marriage to a 19-year-old boy. It was the only way her father could afford to pay back a debt he owed.
Taj Mohammad, father of the little girl who is now seven, borrowed $2,500 to pay for the treatment of his wife who became sick after they moved from southern Helmand to Kabul city last year.
Regrettably however, Taj Mohammad could not repay his debt. Coming to his last resort, he decided to marry off his little daughter to the money lender's son.
"It was a difficult decision," Taj Mohammad told CNN. "Everyone gives away their child, but to give Naghma away like that was just so hard."
Once human rights groups were informed about the little girl's upcoming marriage, they contacted U.S. Lawyer Kimberley Motley, who stepped in to rescue Naghma.
Motley, who has been doing work in Kabul to help train and mentor Afghan defense attorneys, arranged a Jirga (an assembly of Aghan elders), and was able to get the six-year-old out of marriage and back to her family
"I'm certainly very happy that Naghma did not have to be married off at the age of 6, so I'm pleased with that," Motley told CNN. "But I'd like to make sure she gets an education and becomes successful."
Now Naghma and her younger brother will have the opportunity to be educated. Afghanistan's National Institute of Music has offered to bring both of Tak Mohammad's children into the school.
CNN also reports that the father's debt was paid off by an anonymous donor. He is grateful that the debt has been paid off and happy that his children now have the opportunity to learn, thanks to help of the lawyer, Kimberley Motley.
"When I couldn't pay my debt I felt like I'd been thrown into the fire and then someone rescued me -- that was Kim," he said. "She has been so kind to me I'm ready to do whatever Kim says."