Sonita Alizadeh — the Afghan teenager who escaped a teen marriage by writing a rap song about it — goes to a boarding high school in Utah, and is campaigning against child marriage.
Over the past months, she has shared her personal diary with us one last time. In her final entry, she reflects on how much life has changed in a few short years. Her words have been lightly edited for clarity:
I was really sad the other day. My niece, who is a few years younger than me, called me and said, 'I just got engaged.' I was shocked and just asked, 'With whom?' She replied, 'I don't know, I don't know him.' I was really sad. Really said. Because her fate was so easily decided by someone else.
I also empathize with her, because I know how much a family can pressure a girl to be quiet, to not speak her mind. I understand my niece, because I was in her situation, too. I fought about it with my family a lot of times. Even if they called me a 'bad girl' who didn't listen to her family. I still didn't let them pick someone for me to marry at a young age. Every person has choice. Nobody should be able to sell anybody else.
Now, in the US, my life is so different. I've been traveling a lot lately to share my message. Just a couple of months ago, I flew to London. There was an event called Women in the World Summit. All these women had come to tell their stories to the world. Just like me.
Then I flew to Norway. I went to a huge park near the downtown of Oslo and gave a short speech and live performance in front of hundreds of people, including the Prime Minister of Norway. The event was about education, and I was able to speak about how child marriage is a barrier to education for girls.
When I was in Iran, I couldn’t go anywhere. Now, I’m flying all around the world. To share my message about child marriage, and to perform my music. And now I’m allowed to get an education.
I’m a little bit tired because I'm juggling school, and traveling, and speaking and performing. But I love it. Because it is exactly what I have wanted to do my whole life. It is so amazing to see all the comments and support from people like you. Thank you so much.