Interview with Khadija Al Salami
I am Nujood, 10 years old and divorced
Sanad Project - Narrative (Development)
Ali Shujaa Al Afeefi
16.10.2011 - 'I am Nujood, 10
years old and divorced' isa book based on true
eventsthatdescribesthe struggleof a young Yemeni girl from her village to the suburbs of the
capital city Sanaa. Forced to marry a man in his
thirties,abused by her in-laws, she finally ran away to a
court. Khadija Al Salamiis working on the adaptation of
this story to the screen.
You almost have the same story as Nujood, which you
published in a book called 'Tears of Sheba'. What was your feeling
when you heard about Nujood?
I was devastated because it brought up bad memories and
reminded me of my painful experience when I was her age. I
understood the humiliation this brings, the pain and desperation
that make you hate everything around you. This is why I have
dedicated my life to fight against the conditions that young girls
and women in traditional societies must endure through the
documentary films I made on the subject. I also helped other young
girls to obtain their divorce and I made sure to put them in school
because I believe strongly in education, which is the only rescuer
to them as it was for me.
How important is the issue of early marriage to
In my opinion, early marriage is a major issue, how we
can expect to raise a healthy generation in a society that violates
the rights of its own children! That is why we have to make a film
that will reach as many people as possible, whether they are
educated or not. The effect of the images will draw their attention
and speak louder than words. The film will heighten the
spectators' awareness of the traumatisms related to forced
marriages, which still exists today. The film will help families
concerned by these dramas to think about their situations. One of
my objectives is to make the spectators become aware of the
physical and psychological after-effects that the young girls
suffer, caused by ancestral traditions and reinforced by
Is there any legal attempt to put an end to early
marriages in Yemen?
Unfortunately, a law prohibiting marriage before the age
of seventeen was blocked in 2009 by the Islamic Party and by some
tribal leaders. It is a long battle but I have faith we are going
to win it.
When do you plan to shoot the film?
The film was supposed to be made this year but due to the
crisis in Yemen, we postponed it for next year. The upraising
happening in Yemen now will not be included in the film because it
is a different subject. But on the other hand, I am actually making
a documentary about this subject from the point of view of women in
Is there any planto
screenI am Nujood, 10 years
old and divorcedin Yemen?
The main purpose of the film is to be screened in Yemen so to
bring awareness and to push people to think. I am sure the film
will stir many discussions on the topic. I hope to stimulate an
interest in my own country as well as that in other countries that
are also affected by this problem. I want to give a political
dimension to my film in order to mobilize women's associations in
Yemen, with the objective to exert pressure on the government, so
that our leaders react more quickly and vote at last for a law that
prohibits marriage before the age of eighteen.