• Sonita Alizadeh would have been sold into marriage at age 16, if it weren't for her music. (Women in the World)Source: Women in the World
Sonita Alizadeh would have been sold into marriage at age 16, if it weren't for her music.
By
Shami Sivasubramanian

13 Apr 2016 - 1:11 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2016 - 1:11 PM

Afghani rapper and advocate against child marriage, Sonita Alizadeh, opened the Women in the World Summit in New York City last week.

Her opening piece, a dramatically staged song, "Brides for Sale", illustrates the struggles and pressures of being a sold as child bride, a fate she herself managed to escape. 

Alizadeh was only 10-years-old when her mother first floated the idea of selling her as a child bride. Fortunately, she remained unmarried at that point, she tells New York Times.

But once Alizadeh turned 16, her mother had arranged for her to be married for $9,000 USD (about $11,700 AUD). The sale of her daughter was albeit out of desperation, to pay for her Alizadeh's brother's dowry.

Fortunately a series of fateful moments followed that saw Alizadeh out of her predicament.

Her family had fled Afghanistan to Iran some years ago, to escape the Taliban's oppression. Throughout this journey, music and rapping had been an outlet for Alizadeh. 

It was in Iran that Alizadeh met a filmmaker by the name of Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami, who'd previously filmed Alizadeh for a film project.

He donated $2,600 AUD to her family, thereby postponing the need for her to be sold into marriage, by a few months. 

During that time, Ghaemmaghami helped Alizadeh produce a music video for her song "Brides for Sale".

The track garnered international attention, even securing Alizadeh a music scholarship in the US.

And now, the artist who is free from that world of oppression, has come full circle to share her music, experiences, and advocacy for a better world for women.

The Women in the World Summit is an annual ideas forum that features talks and panel discussion of several successful women from business, arts, entertainment, and philanthropy.