Education as a catalyst in preventing early marriage

Fifteen-year-old Ibtessam has used her training on the importance of education to explain to her father the benefits of girls remaining in school, allowing her to continue her education and inspire other girls in her community to do the same.

Ibtessam standing and smiling.
Ibtessam advocates for her right
to education.

Meet Ibtessam

“I don’t want to get married now, I want to continue my education,” says Ibtessam. She is an ambitious and determined girl who lives with her parents and 3 sisters. She is a girl with a bright and curious soul who yearns for knowledge and dreams beyond the boundaries of her humble surroundings. Her hobbies are painting and reading novels, and her dream job is to become an Arabic language teacher.

All she aims for right now is to complete her studies and reach university. However, her dreams seemed unobtainable when her father decided to take her out of school, believing that education was not necessary for girls like her.

Out-of-school girls

Hope seemed elusive for Ibtessam, especially because social norms do not favour girls’ education. The weight of tradition and patriarchal norms suffocated the young girl’s aspirations, but deep down within her, a flicker of resilience burned bright.

One day, Ibtessam learned, through her friend, about a life-changing programme called ‘Scream’ by Plan International Egypt. The programme aimed to educate girls about their rights and shed light on the importance of education, preparing them to challenge societal norms and restrictions.

“We must strive and work hard to be able to reach what we want.”


Determined to break free from the chains of tradition, Ibtessam seized the opportunity and enrolled in the ‘Scream’ programme through the community development association in her village. The workshop proved to be a turning point in her life, as it not only equipped her with knowledge but also instilled within her the confidence to stand up for herself.

Knowledge as a gateway to empowerment

Throughout the programme, Ibtessam learned about the long-lasting benefits of education, not only for herself but also for her family and community. She discovered that education could help her gain a voice, create opportunities, and work towards building a better future. Not only this but also the programme’s instructor helped Ibtessam with tips and tricks on how to carry out a conversation with her father and convince him of her life aspirations.

Girls and young women sit in a semi-circle.
Awareness raising session targeting children.

Driven by her newfound knowledge, Ibtessam hatched a plan to convince her father to reconsider his stance on education. She gathered all the courage and persuasive arguments she could muster, her eyes gleaming with determination.

Utilising knowledge and skills to protect her rights

One evening, when Ibtessam found her father in a reflective mood, she bared her heart to him. She eloquently explained how education could transform her life and enable her to contribute positively to the family and community. She assured him that her dreams didn’t diminish her love and respect towards her family; instead, they would only enhance her ability to support them.

Her father, through his daughter’s sincerity, passion and strength found new understanding, accepting his daughter’s persistence and allowing her to return to education.

Ibtessam’s persistence for education did not only earn her father’s approval but also inspired countless others in her village. She became a beacon of hope, motivating girls and their families to prioritise education, break free from tradition, and create a brighter future for themselves.

A source of inspiration for other girls

Girls sit in a circle on chairs.
Awareness raising session.

From that moment on, Ibtessam dedicated herself wholeheartedly to her studies. Supported by the ‘Scream’ programme and the unwavering love and encouragement of her family, Ibtessam blossomed into a confident and empowered young woman, transforming not only her own life but also the lives of those around her.

Her journey from a girl who was denied education to becoming a catalyst for change in her community is a testament to the power of determination and the transformative potential that education holds. Ibtessam’s unwavering spirit continues to inspire others to break free from the chains of tradition and embrace the boundless opportunities education brings.

Ibtessam: “My message to all the girls in my community is that not everything we wish for in life will come true easily. We must strive and work hard to be able to reach what we want. My advice to all girls is, don’t surrender, try hard to achieve your dreams, nothing will stop you from achieving your dream. As they always say “it wasn’t easy but I did it” I want to thank everyone who supported me in that.”

Education, Girls Get Equal, girls’ leadership