Above, a group of participants of the Tehani Photo Workshop in Samburu County, Kenya.
In spring 2018, two young girls who were forced into child marriage and brutal captivity by Boko Haram insurgents traveled to the United States to meet with members of US Congress and the United Nations, to have their stories heard. Ya Kaka and Hauwa, abducted at 13 and 14 years-old, demonstrated rare and astonishing bravery in recounting their experiences, knowing the power of their testimonials in advocating for the thousands of girls still missing in Nigeria. As a result of their courage, Hauwa and Ya Kaka were awarded the inaugural Too Young to Wed Girls' Champion Award that same year.
Below, TYTW Leadership Scholarship recipients Hauwa and Ya Kaka speak with 15 US Senators during their advocacy visit to Capitol Hill. Photo by Erin Brethauer.
From left to right: Afghan National Lightweight Boxing Champion and TYTW beneficiary Seema Rezai; TYTW President & Founder Stephanie Sinclair, U.S. Special Envoy for Afghan Women, Girls, and Human Rights Rina Amiri, and Senior Advisor in the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues Varina Winder listen to the Deputy Secretary’s remarks. Photos by Andrea Bruce.
To reflect on the brutal realities of the past decade for girls, TYTW held a private exhibition on October 11, 2022 with the U.S. State Department, titled “Girls on the Brink: Holding on to Fragile Futures.” U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy R. Sherman delivered the keynote address, along with remarks from Afghan National Lightweight Boxing Champion and TYTW beneficiary Seema Rezai, Senior Advisor in the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues Varina Winder, and Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist and President & Founder of TYTW Stephanie Sinclair.
This powerful multimedia exhibition, which will travel and open to the public at a later date, highlights the struggles that girls are currently facing globally and draws awareness to the dramatic rollbacks of girls’ rights that have taken place over the last several years. Showcasing original works by predominantly female and non-binary visual journalists, the exhibition explores issues such as child marriage, reproductive rights, human trafficking, racial injustice, and climate change, and how these issues have disproportionate and devastating effects on young girls around the world.
Above, Jane, a child marriage survivor and graduate of the Tehani Photo Workshop in Kenya addresses her community at the final photo exhibition.
The Tehani Photo Workshop, named after 8-year-old Yemeni child bride Tehani, is a seven-day immersive art therapy and empowerment retreat. This nurturing safe space is created for survivors to share their experiences, and promotes an inclusive healing community that lasts well beyond the workshop. Photography, journalism and storytelling skill-building is at the core of our workshops, centered on the importance and power of survivors’ voices. Our curriculum is built by a licensed trauma therapist, and is crucially informed by the feedback of our participants. These girls become champions for girls’ rights in their communities, leading awareness campaigns in a final exhibition of their photographs where attendees include family members, village elders, and regional and national leaders. The global media attention and international exhibitions following each workshop lead directly to an increase in resources for our grassroots partner NGOs as their profile is lifted, contributing to global public awareness and education about the need to address child marriage globally.