39,000 young girls get married every day. Child brides are robbed of their childhood, education, and any hope for the future. This happens in far-away countries, outside of our sphere of awareness. That’s why we had to bring the issue home. We decided to ground our campaign in the powerful contrast between our own fairy tale weddings and the grotesque child weddings taking place every single day.
Using blogs as our main media channel, we helped people get to know Thea, 12, a Norwegian child bride who was to be married to Geir, a man 25 years her senior. Through her own wedding blog, we followed Thea on her troubling child’s journey towards an all-too early encounter with the adult world. Thea’s fate became our powerful story of a brutal truth that befalls all too many girls, every single day. The question was how people would react to a 12-year-old Norwegian girl being a child bride – would they help us stop the wedding?
Thea’s wedding blog kicked off a global public movement, turning #StopTheWedding into a worldwide concept. Heads of State, Hollywood stars, key opinion leaders and powerful voices from all sections of Norwegian society – together with the general public – got involved to stop the child wedding. After a world wide mass-mobilisation, we stopped Thea’s child wedding on the UN’s International Day of Girls. The campaign gained exposure in over one billion editorial and social media pieces, recruited several thousand new Plan sponsors – who will over time contribute up to 140 million NOK towards Plan Norway’s work – and inspired the Norwegian authorities to take a leading role internationally in the fight against child marriage out in the field.