Najwa, Sudanese Organization for Research and Development

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"I’m Najwa. I had to stop school when I was 16 because I was married off. My family was pressured into agreeing to the marriage. I am married to a much older man that I do not like, let alone love.

I’ve been the victim of all sorts of abuse – physical and emotional. Every day anger and shame eat away at me. What choice did I have? Can I take back control of my life, and do I dare to dream of a brighter future?"

"A few years into my marriage, I walked through SORD’s door and met Zeinab, who would become my lawyer. She was with me as I went through the proceedings to separate from my husband, and she has been a pillar of support to me.

It’s a long, hard road to divorce for women in Sudan. Six judges have looked at my case, and each of them declared that my claims are not grave enough to justify divorce.

But I have hope. I was able to say no to something that was imposed on me, and I’m trying to reclaim my life. Yes I am a woman and I am young, but now I don’t hesitate to demand my rights. Every young woman should have the chance to choose her own future and to build her own dreams."

Inter Pares works with the Sudanese Organization for Research and Development (SORD), based in Khartoum, Sudan, that runs legal clinics and champions women’s rights. 

SORD also works for equality by advocating changes to laws in Sudan concerning child marriage, and laws that conflate adultery and rape. To this day, Najwa's divorce is still pending.

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