Salma is a preschool teacher in rural Bangladesh. She’s a high-school graduate and plans to continue her education in college. In a country where an estimated 45 percent of girls drop out of secondary school, Salma is a big deal.

But just four years ago, at 14 years of age, Salma was among millions of girls who live in absolute fear of being forced into marriage, likely to an older man. As a girl from a poor family in Bangladesh, which has the fourth highest rate of child marriage in the world, according to UNICEF, and the second highest number of child brides – nearly 4.5 million in 2017 – Salma was staring down the barrel of child marriage.

That is, until she received a scholarship from World Concern to stay in school. The UN Population Fund says that girls who have a secondary education are up to six times less likely to be married off before their 18th birthday. That’s why World Concern believes the solution is to keep girls in school, especially when their families can’t afford it.

The scholarship is just one component of World Concern’s holistic approach to what they call “transformational development” in the world’s poorest and hardest-to-reach places. Over its 65-year history, World Concern has refined the ways it addresses not just physical and economic needs, but emotional and spiritual, as well – taking into account the whole person.

Read the full story about World Concern by Joanne Lu at Global Washington.