Photo: RVD, Jeroen van der Meyde
Princess Mabel, as patron of Girl Not Brides, is to receive the Geuzen Medal for her work. The Geuzen Medal is a tribute to people and organisations who fight for human rights and against dictatorships, discrimination and racism.
Girls Not Brides was co-founded by Princess Mabel and fights for the abolishment of child marriages. It currently covers almost a thousand organisations in 95 countries. Princess Mabel said of the difference between marrying out of choice and forced child marriage, “What do you remember of your own wedding day? What was the happiness that day? Love? Dancing with friends and family? Or was your wedding day the day that you were supposed to be in school? Was it the day that you had to leave your family to live with a man you had never met before and was twice your age? Was it the day you got pregnant, despite being just a child?”
Take for example the country of Niger where two-thirds of the girls marry before the age of 18. Even the president of Niger is now involved in ending child marriage. “Speaking of child marriage was taboo five years ago, now everyone is talking about it. Even African heads of state”, Princess Mabel said. Princess Mabel travels around the world for Girls Not Brides.
Just last year the World Bank published a rapport showing that the abolishment of child marriage could mean a lot for the economy. This is because girls that are better educated can contribute more to the economy. It will also lead to a decrease in child deaths.
Princess Mabel is the widow of Prince Friso of Orange-Nassau, the brother of the current King of the Netherlands, King Willem-Alexander. She was recently praised by Nobel prize winner Malala Yousafzai for “everything she does to help girls all over the world.”
“Girls who marry at the age of 14 and have a child don’t return to school”, Malala Yousafzai said.