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When Hillary Bustos Gómez found herself pregnant at 16, she was not prepared for the challenges ahead. “The first months were the hardest. I couldn’t get used to the idea. ‘What am I going to do with a baby, all by myself? This cannot be happening to me’,” said Hillary, now 18.
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Fatuma was married off five years ago, when she was just 13. Like most girls from the remote Afar Region of Ethiopia, she had undergone female genital mutilation (FGM) when she was just a baby, and it was expected that her scars would open up during the wedding night.
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Monsoon floods are an annual hazard for Phoo Ngun’s family. Although their bamboo home stands on tall stilts, the kitchen has been submerged in rainwater. Ms. Phoo Ngun, 31, has set up a makeshift cooking area in their small living space.

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