Ylva Queisser, Country Manager Germany

My heart belongs to me!

My colleague Charlotte from New York just wrote about the first International Girl’s Day. Childhood Germany celebrated October 11th together with one of our partner organisations in Berlin, Terre des Femmes. Since 1981 the organisation is fighting against forced marriage and honour based violence. The first nationwide study on forced marriage in Germany shows 3443 cases during 2008 whereof 93% were women and girls and 65 % were under 21 years old.

The celebrations at the Nordic Embassies in Berlin highlighted a project funded by Childhood Germany, the Youth network against honour crimes. The internet platform went online this day and was accompanied by a prize ceremony for a creative competition, where young people designed a sticker to inform about the online platform. The winning design was created by a 16-year-old girl. Sara’s colourful picture of a female superhero cutting her marionette puppet strings will be put up in schools all around Germany to advertise the new platform for girls affected by honour based violence. The superhero in the picture frees herself from external control and captures the power of her own heart: “My heart belongs to me!” is the text on the sticker.

Sara with the winning sticker


At www.zwangsheirat.de, affected girls can inform themselves, interchange with others, get advice and chat with a specialized counsellor. In a blog, victims of honour based violence and forced marriage tell their stories. As many affected girls feel left alone and think they are the only ones with these kinds of problems, the blog is an important part of the project. It can be a low threshold way to support girls to maybe sometime in future, win their heart back.


Photo: Volker Gehrmann/Jan Ganschow