Battling Against Child Marriage, Sonita Alizadeh Is Rapping Her Way To A Better World
- IWB Post
- April 18, 2018
In Afghanistan, around 15% of the girls are married before 15, and close to 60-80% of child marriages are forced. When Sonita Alizadeh was 16, her parents were all ready to sell her as a bride for $9000 so that her brother could buy a bride for himself with the money. But fighting this nefarious practice, Sonita today, at the age of 21, is a widely popular Afghan rapper and activist.
Sonita was eight when her family fled to Iran in fear of the Taliban fighters. As she had no formal education with no proper identification, it was at an NGO for Afghan refugees that she learned reading and writing while cleaning bathrooms. Writing poetry and listening to hip-hop, she was inspired by Eminem; and Iranian rapper, Yas, and decided to tell her story to the world in the same manner.
In 2014, she won $1000 in a competition with her song about encouraging Afghan people to vote in elections. Soon after, her mother told her about a man ready to buy her as his bride. Sonita’s reply to this oppressive proposal? She wrote and filmed ‘Brides for Sale’ with the help of an Iranian filmmaker and uploaded the video to her Youtube page,
While she was lucky to have escaped the business of bride selling and then domestic abuse at the hands of her buyer, she knew that many girls were living this hell. So, wearing a white veil and a painted barcode on her forehead, Sonita sang the unheard stories of these girls in her song ‘Brides for Sale.’
sonita …. selling brides in Afghanistan….. Subtitled.
The video soon went viral, gaining national and international fame. The Strongheart Group, a non-profit organization, impressed with her work, offered to bring her to the U.S. Today, she lives in Utah, studying at the Wasatch Academy on a full scholarship. She continues to battle against child marriages and for women’s rights and hopes that one day she’ll return to Afghanistan. There she wants to rap for women’s rights, encouraging young girls to stand up for their rights. “My family, they changed their minds. If I can change their minds with my music, then maybe I can change the world.”