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UNICEF film night to #EndChildMarriage

Moviemento Berlin, in cooperation with the UNICEF Berlin International Team, hosted a film night on the topic of child marriage. The screening of academy-award nominee film “Mustang” was followed by a discussion with representatives from UNICEF Berlin and Terre des Femmes and shed light on the situation both in Turkey and in Germany.

Worldwide, more than 700 million women alive today were married as children. Evidence shows that those who marry early often abandon education and become pregnant. Due to their young age, these girls then face a greater risk of contracting life-threatening complications during childbirth. UNICEF makes it their work to protect these children from harm, whilst understanding the complexity of each individual case.

Child marriage is a phenomenon that affects children abroad and here in Germany. Therefore, UNICEF Berlin International Team wanted to shed light on the issue and educate members of the public through a film and discussion night. The evening featured a screening of the academy-award nominated film “Mustang” (2015) and a discussion with Terre des Femmes representative, Julia Barde.


Discussion on child marriage by representatives from UNICEF Berlin and Terre des Femmes, © UNICEF Berlin

“Mustang”, a film about five orphaned Turkish sisters placed under the financial care of their uncle and the day-to-day care of their grandmother, gave audience members an insight into the lives of children affected by this global practice. The film illustrated that dealing with the issue is complex, whilst one sister finds happiness with her young husband, her siblings do not.

Following the screening, UNICEF Berlin representative Gunda-Alexandra Detmers held a discussion session with Julia Barde. Questions ranged from how representative “Mustang” is of child marriage globally, to what legislation exists to combat the problem, focussing particularly on the situation in Turkey and Germany. In the beginning of June, the German parliament passed a law increasing the minimum age for marriage to 18 years after a sharp rise in the number of cases recorded in 2016.

The Question and Answer session also allowed audience members to voice their queries and concerns about the issue too.


Audience making a statement to #EndChildMarriage, © UNICEF Berlin

To end the evening, (as it began), audience members took part in the team’s photo booth activity, where they could pose with teddy bears and veils to visually represent the link between childhood and marriage. Many were eager to take part and discuss the topic with UNICEF volunteers.

UNICEF aims to empower those affected by identifying and addressing the issues through health, education and welfare programs and, by doing so, reduce the risk faced by each child. The issue of child marriage has recently gained publicity with Stephanie Sinclair’s winning entry into the ‘UNICEF Photo of the Year’ competition ‘A Child Bride in Afghanistan’.

The night proved to be highly successful, and by raising awareness of the issue UNICEF Berlin International Team continue to hope that one day, there will be an end to child marriage.


Members of the International Team © UNICEF Berlin

UNICEF Berlin International Team thanks Moviemento Berlin, Germany’s oldest cinema, to host this film night and Terre des Femmes for their cooperation and input.

Photo album of the UNICEF film night

Further information on the topic in the UNICEF brochure “Ending Child Marriage: Progress and prospects” or the latest UNICEF data.

UNICEF video “A storybook wedding - except for one thing

Josna Banerjee-Palmer