When the day came for 14-year-old Najlaa to be married, she felt her dreams of finishing school slipping away.
Najlaa couldn't accept a life she didn't choose, so she ran away from home in her wedding dress. "I left my high heels because I couldn't run in them," she said. She defied her family's wishes and said to her husband-to-be, "I don't want to marry you because I have a dream to be a journalist and I am too young."
Her path to education became even harder when ISIS invaded her town in Iraq. Najlaa is Yazidi, a small religious minority persecuted by the extremist group. As she escaped, ISIS fighters fired at her and a bullet hit her hand. She still has the scar to prove it. Najlaa now lives in the concrete shell of an unfinished building and walks over an hour to school. But she is happy to be free and in a classroom again.
Girls like Najlaa are fighting for their lives, fighting to go to school and fighting for their futures. Imagine what they could accomplish if they didn't have to work so hard for their education.