From the moment they are born, girls will face difficult realities.
Gender inequality is a worldwide problem, but for girls living in poverty, the future is especially bleak.
Across the developing world, girls can be forced into labour, marriage and early pregnancy because they are not seen as worthwhile educating.
Today, around one in four children in the world’s poorest countries are involved in child labour, with girls generally forced to drop out of school to do domestic work.
Girls are five times more likely than boys to be married as children.
For many families, marrying their daughter early is a way of guaranteeing she is provided for.
The sad fact is that around 15 million girls are married each year while they are still children – that’s one new bride every two seconds.
Once married, pregnancy will generally follow.
But when brides can be as young as 15, their bodies are underdeveloped to cope with the demands of giving birth, and they can face major health risks for themselves and their infants.
Ultimately, an alarming number of girls living in poverty are pushed into adulthood long before they are physically or emotionally ready.
Deprived of an education, many of these girls are unable to earn a living or help themselves escape poverty.
They can face abuse and life-long health problems, and once they have daughters, the cycle starts again.
But there’s hope.
With the support of people like you, girls are being empowered to break the cycle of poverty that forces them into work and child marriage.
One simple way of helping is to support a girl’s education.
Statistics show that girls who are educated are set up to earn a living later in life, which means they can provide for themselves and their families.
They are also more likely to marry later, have healthier children and send their own children to school.
Initiatives like sponsoring a girl through World Vision can support her to gain an education.
As more girls escape the traditional cycle, cultural norms can change and progress can be made.
The realities may seem harsh. But helping one girl can make a bigger difference than you think.
World Vision is working to help millions of other girls in the developing world who are trapped by harsh realities like child marriage. You can help. Sponsor a girl today.