Darren Walker op-ed: A princess on a mission to end child marriage

In this Town & Country op-ed, Darren talks about Princess Mabel of the Netherlands and her quest to end child marriage. The scale of this problem is unthinkable‚ÄĒthere are at this moment 700 million women alive who were married as children.

Published in Town & Country | January 17, 2017
Princess Mabel of the Netherlands has devoted herself to ending the scourge of child marriage
By Darren Walker

The last place one expects to meet a European princess is in the dingy basement office of a parking garage in Durban, South Africa. But my friend Mabel (a.k.a. HRH Princess Mabel van Oranje-Nassau, van Amsberg-Wisse Smit, of the Netherlands) is no ordinary princess.

She does not spend her time on a grand estate, her calendar overburdened with fancy balls. Instead she has spent the last two decades traveling to the slums and remote villages of countries like Ethiopia and India, engaging with ordinary people so that she can help share their needs and concerns with world leaders.

When I met her in Durban, she had joined Charlize Theron, Elton John, heads of state, and prominent humanitarians in speaking at the International AIDS Conference; Mabel was there to raise awareness about the cause that has become her life's work: ending the scourge of child marriage.

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The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For more than 80 years it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.