Memory Banda is a Malawian girls’ rights activist who led a national grassroots campaign to ban child marriage in Malawi. Banda became involved in advocacy after her younger sister was forced into marriage at 11 years old. Banda joined local organizations Girls Empowerment Network (Genet) and Let Girls Lead and began talking to other girls about their experiences in sexual “initiation camps.” She collaborated on a storytelling project called “River of Life,” where girls share their experiences, their dreams, and the challenges they face through art, storytelling, and poetry. The project was adopted into an advocacy campaign and helped bring about the ban on child marriage in 2015. Banda continues to advocate for girls in countries where child marriage still exists. She has been named a Rise Up girl leader and is in her sophomore year of college in Malawi.
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