August 22, 2022 – CARE welcomed today a $10 million donation from Sheryl Sandberg and Tom Bernthal aimed at supporting CARE’s overall efforts to support women and girls globally, including ending child marriage.
Worldwide, more than 650 million women alive today were married as children, and every year, at least 12 million girls are married before they reach the age of 18. In the least developed countries, that number doubles: 40 percent of girls are married before age 18, and 12 percent of girls are married before age 15.
CARE CEO Michelle Nunn expressed her gratitude, noting that Sheryl’s and Tom’s support comes at a critical time for girls globally.
“During crisis, specifically armed conflict, food insecurity or a pandemic — the incidences of child marriage skyrocket. Before COVID, more than nine percent of the global population were going hungry. Today, that figure has skyrocketed with the conflict in Ukraine, increased food prices, or fertilizer shortages,” said Nunn.
“With women and young girls making up 60% of the population facing chronic hunger today, marrying off a young daughter to stave off starvation is a choice millions of families will make this year. This generous donation by Sheryl and Tom will help many of those families not have to make that choice.”
“I had the recent privilege of marrying Tom, a man I love deeply. Tom and I chose each other as life partners. Every year millions of young girls are denied that choice and are forced to become child brides,” said Sheryl Sandberg. “Tom and I are honored to work with the team at CARE to increase awareness and address the root causes of forced marriage so that every girl has the right to choose her own destiny.”
“Deciding who you marry shouldn’t just be a choice, it should be a right,” said Tom Bernthal. “We are honored to support CARE’s mission to end forced child marriage for every girl, everywhere.”
The donation will support CARE’s efforts to combat child marriage in several countries, such as Syria, Ethiopia, Mali, and Niger, through programs including CARE’s “Tipping Point.” The multi-country initiative works to address child marriage by enabling girls to assert their rights, help families and communities to support them, and influence policy to sustain change.
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CARE Executive Director, Media Relations