25 Friday, September 2015

‘We got so much love’

Too Young to Wed founder Stephanie Sinclair, far right, and photographer Rob Clark give a talk during Photoville's "An Evening with National Geographic" on Sept. 19. Too Young to Wed's inaugural print sale coincided with the massive exhibit in Brooklyn, which attracted more than 76,000 visitors this year. --- Gina Martin
Too Young to Wed founder Stephanie Sinclair, far right, and photographer Rob Clark give a talk during Photoville’s “An Evening with National Geographic” on Sept. 19. Too Young to Wed’s inaugural print sale coincided with the massive exhibit in Brooklyn, which attracted more than 76,000 visitors this year.
— Gina Martin

Funds raised during Too Young to Wed’s first print sale will support efforts to empower girls and women in Ethiopia, Kenya and earthquake-stricken Nepal.

Though the sale ended Tuesday—after a 48-hour extension due to high demand—donations from around the world continued to roll in. By Thursday, more than 400 individuals had donated time, money and expertise toward the nonprofit’s first major fundraiser.

“It was a huge success, and we are left humbled and deeply moved by your generosity and support for an issue that clearly means so much to us,” said Too Young to Wed founder Stephanie Sinclair, whose images of child brides have inspired advocates and policymakers to push for an end to child marriage. “We are so pleased that so many of you have chosen to take this journey with us.”

The print sale coincided with Too Young to Wed’s exhibit at Photoville 2015, a photo extravaganza in Brooklyn, N.Y., that attracted more than 76,000 visitors to workshops, panels and installations this year.

“Photoville was amazing. They really supported our work in a very generous and beautiful way,” said Sinclair, who shared the nonprofit’s mission with hundreds of visitors over the course of the week. “It was almost like a coming-out party for us. People didn’t know we were an organization.”

In addition to Photoville, Sinclair credited the event’s overwhelming success to publicity from a number of media outlets—including the New York Times, Time and National Geographic—as well as support from numerous humanitarian organizations, like the Ford Foundation, One and the Girl Effect. Facebook and Instagram promoted the effort, and Twitter users—among them Tony-nominated Broadway performer Stephanie Block and “Gotham” cast members Ben McKenzie, Morena Baccarin and Erin Richards—championed the cause. Even singer Ricky Martin trumpeted the event on his Instagram account.

“We got so much love,” said Sinclair. “We know that love and support is meant for the girls, and we promise we’re going to do everything in our power to support them and bring an end to child marriage.”

Stephanie Sinclair, left, chats with visitors to Too Young to Wed's exhibit at Photoville this month. More than 400 people donated time, expertise and money to the nonprofit's first print sale, which coincided with the exhibit. Funds will support efforts to empower women and girls in the communities where pictures have been taken. --- Smita Sharma
Stephanie Sinclair, left, chats with visitors to Too Young to Wed’s exhibit at Photoville this month. More than 400 people donated time, expertise and money to the nonprofit’s first print sale, which coincided with the exhibit. Funds will support efforts to empower women and girls in the communities where pictures have been taken.
— Smita Sharma

Too Young to Wed was launched on Oct. 11, 2012 – the first International Day of the Girl Child – as a multimedia partnership with the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) to raise awareness of child marriage, assist child brides and bring an end to the practice that affects one girl every two seconds. The organization officially incorporated as a 501(c)(3) in February 2015.

Its primary focus will always be to “provide powerful visual storytelling, then bring our girls’ stories to the world to help inspire an end to child marriage,” said Sinclair. The nonprofit will continue to raise awareness about child marriage and offer support to on-the-ground projects in the communities where the girls in the images live, to promote positive change.

The organization is still tallying contributions from its inaugural print sale, but intends to use the proceeds primarily to help three communities: the village of Gombat, outside Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, where an adolescent empowerment initiative aims to help girls in rural areas; The Samburu Girls Foundation in northern Kenya, which provides shelter and education to girls rescued from child marriage, female genital mutilation and other harmful practices; and Kagati village in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal, where an earthquake this year flattened homes and the village school, leaving young girls that much more vulnerable to child marriage.

Too Young to Wed has begun conversations with partners in those communities to work out the details, and specifics will be forthcoming, said Sinclair.

“Meanwhile, we are now busy preparing the studio for this huge print run! Expect your prints to arrive in the coming weeks,” she said. “And from the bottom of our hearts, thank you.”

Team Too Young to Wed members who participated in Photoville 2015 included social media coordinator Smita Sharma, TV journalist and Board of Directors member Ann Curry, Sinclair and Christina Piaia, the nonprofit's director of projects. --- Smita Sharma
Team Too Young to Wed members who participated in Photoville 2015 included social media coordinator Smita Sharma, TV journalist and Board of Directors member Ann Curry, Sinclair and Christina Piaia, the nonprofit’s director of projects.
— Smita Sharma

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21 Monday, September 2015

In Nepal, quake threatens family’s stance against child marriage

Like 90 percent of the houses in Kagati village in the Kathmandu Valley, the one belonging to Niruta and Durga collapsed during the April 25 earthquake. But the young couple is fortunate. They survived the quake and violent aftershocks that … Continue reading

18 Friday, September 2015

Child marriage survivor pens poignant letter

By Gabriella Gillespie, child marriage survivor and member of Too Young to Wed’s Board of Advisers When I first came across Stephanie Sinclair’s pictures a few years ago, my heart slowed down for a moment; it was as though I … Continue reading

16 Wednesday, September 2015

Print sale proceeds support safe house in Kenya

Eunice was 11 when she decided she’d had enough. Only two weeks earlier, her father had circumcised her and forced her to marry an abusive 78-year-old man. Nursing fresh bruises from the beating she’d earned for refusing to “please” him … Continue reading

13 Sunday, September 2015

TYTW’s inaugural print sale to benefit child brides

In collaboration with Photoville, New York City’s largest annual photo festival, Too Young to Wed (TYTW) will host its first print sale, featuring images by our Founder and Executive Director Stephanie Sinclair. Each 8×10 archival print was hand-printed and signed … Continue reading