Global icon Priyanka Chopra recently visited Ethiopia as the UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and shared pictures with 15-year-old Hasina on her official Instagram handle, posting a heartfelt story of the teenager who stood up against child marriage.

Chopra went to Ethiopia for an education programme for children where she met the refugees and natives battling poor economy. She spent some time with the teens there only to know how conservative social practices dominate their lives. One of the many stories that she heard was that of a school-going girl Hasina who received praise through a post from the star for standing up to child marriage.

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This is Hasina (15), she is a 7th grade student who loves to go to school. She used to live with her sister and her husband, and without her knowing, her sisters’ husband was arranging her marriage to one of his friends…she was 12 at the time. One day when the man visited her house to pester her parents to marry her, she escaped to a friends house and the next day went to one of the community-based child’s marriage prevention platforms (alone), which she had heard about at school. She asked herself, if She married now, would she ever go back to school again? Hasina loves learning and wasn’t willing to trade her education or freedom for anything.That gave her the courage to stand up for herself. The community, along with the authorities, stepped in and stopped the marriage. The man was charged. It’s important to understand that it takes an immense amount of courage to go against these cultural “norms” that have existed for centuries. Hasina is a very brave girl. It was so heartening to see the elders in the community learning from the examples these young girls are setting, standing up against child marriage and female genital mutilation/cutting. Education gave these girls that perspective. This community is an example of how change is possible. FEMALE RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS. To make a difference and learn more about @Unicef’s efforts, visit UNICEF. Link in bio.

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Sharing photos with 15-year-old Hasina, the actor applauded her guts to stand and stop her own marriage at the tender age of 12. “She is a 7th grade student who loves to go to school,” Chopra said in her introduction to the teenage. Writing further she said, “One day when the man visited her house to pester her parents to marry her, she escaped to a friends house and the next day went to one of the community-based child’s marriage prevention platforms (alone), which she had heard about at school. She asked herself, if she married now, would she ever go back to school again? Hasina loves learning and wasn’t willing to trade her education or freedom for anything. That gave her the courage to stand up for herself. The community, along with the authorities, stepped in and stopped the marriage. The man was charged.”

Earlier this month, Chopra, who dons many hats as an actor, producer, singer, investor and philanthropist, Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People, has been featured among the Most Influential Asians on Gold House’s A100 list, TOI reported.

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Day 1: My first visit was to the Sibiste Negasi Primary School in Addis Ababa. In Ethiopia, primary school enrollment between 2000 and 2017 has TRIPLED. This is because of the Ethiopian government’s investment in education and its dedication to the future of the country…but there is still so much work to do. 2.6 M children of primary and secondary school age are out of school, and 50% of children attending school drop out by grade 8. Because of poverty children are responsible for much more than just learning, like caring for siblings, walking miles to collect water and other house hold chores…things that should not be a child’s responsibility at any age. A child is a child. @unicef’s efforts, along with a very committed government, are focused on getting every child in school, ensuring every child has a quality education, and that every child completes school. Thank you Principal Abebech, Dagmawit (7th grade), and all the other students who made my first day in ethopia so special. Go to my stories to follow this trip. @unicefethiopia #achildisachild #foreverychild

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Also Read: From Beauty Queen to Royalty: Why Priyanka Chopra is in a league of her own

The never-ending emotional posts started gaining love from across the globe.  “It’s important to understand that it takes an immense amount of courage to go against these cultural “norms” that have existed for centuries. Hasina is a very brave girl. It was so heartening to see the elders in the community learning from the examples these young girls are setting, standing up against child marriage and female genital mutilation/cutting. Education gave these girls that perspective. This community is an example of how change is possible. FEMALE RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS,” the actor wrote.

The 35-year-old acquired fame as a global actress. But as the UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and founder of the Priyanka Chopra Foundation for Health and Education, and she is doing much more…

In another post, Chopra shared her happiness on knowing of a surge in student enrollment in schools. But, she wrote that there is still a lot that needs to be done as lack of funds to run schools and scarcity of teachers and other basic amenities are priorities here.

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At the Bambasi Refugee Camp Primary School there is a shortage of trained teachers, with one teacher for every 89 students. This second grade class is taught by Hubahiro, she is a refugee child who is an 8th grade student at the school…she teaches grades 1-4 in the morning, and in the afternoon attends school to continue her education. Like her mother, who is also a refugee and teacher at the school, she earns a small stipend. When I first met the kids they were extremely introverted and timid. It took a lot of tickles and cuddles to get them to interact with me. Thank you Hubahiro for translating and helping the kids understand that I was a friend. @unicef @unicefethiopia #childrenuprooted

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UNICEF says Ethiopia has 906,000 registered refugees. Priyanka is in Ethiopia to promote access to education for refugee children.

Feature Image Credit: Priyanka Chopra / Instagram

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