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#MyTrueLove Campaign Shows Who Girls Are Really Crushing On

Hint: it's not boys.

For some girls, there are more important things to celebrate this Valentine's Day than their latest crush and guys are the last thing on their minds.

In underserved countries, girls grow up without privileges we take for granted -- like going to school, voicing opinions and choosing whom they'll marry.

One in four women worldwide were married before age 18, according to UNICEF, often resulting in girls dropping out of school, getting pregnant early and being at a higher risk of domestic violence. What's more, two-thirds of the world's illiterate are women, according to the U.N. Girls Education Initiative.

This Valentine's Day, Plan International, a nonprofit dedicated to children's rights and development, teamed up with girls from around the world to launch the #MyTrueLove campaign, reclaiming the Hallmark holiday for something more powerful than romance: Girl power. 

These 11 photos show what young ladies see as their real Valentine this holiday. 

 

1. My Family

"At my age I have been fortunate to know true love. My grandmother is the representation of pure and selfless love. She is the first on my list of what true love means. That little word is also represented by two persons who are always by my side: My best friends, my accomplices, almost my sisters. Love is also reflected in everything I desire and strive for. I love playing, I love to study and I love to think that in the future I will become a doctor. Love is also sharing and helping one another. I thank each person who has helped me to discover I have known true love. I love who I am, I love those around me, and like me, I want all children to be able to discover true love in their lives." - Sara, 12, El Salvador

 

2. Books

“#MyTrueLove is novels. They inspire me and give me strength. I really like Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea as it inspires me to be strong. Given the old man’s age, he could still beat all the sharks and he managed to come out of the sea safely.” - Joanita Ainekusasira, 18, Uganda

 

3. The Outdoors

“#MyTrueLove is camping. When I go camping, I meet new friends and I learn new things. I really enjoy it. We use lots of equipment, such as hoses, sticks, stones and we even kill snakes. The longest time I have been camping is for a week. I love it.” - Kumukyawa Evelyn, 19, Uganda

 

4. Education

“#MyTrueLove is reading and studying because I am fond of learning new things which broadens my horizon in life. College education becomes an opportunity in many countries and I am really thankful that I can go to college and study my passion. Education is the key in fulfilling my dreams and be the person who I want to be.” - Marinel, 18, Philippines

 

5. The Arts

“#MyTrueLove is singing and dancing. I like dancing and singing, because I can stretch my body and I know that in the future, I am going to be a dancer. I am going to be famous across the world.” - Nabirye Shanin, 17, Uganda

 

6. Being Captain

“#MyTrueLove is playing netball. From childhood, I used to watch people playing netball and I loved it. I especially liked to watch the captain. Eventually I became the captain of my netball team at school. There is a lady in the Uganda She Cranes team called Joanita. She’s inspired me right from childhood. She went abroad to America, South Africa and Rwanda playing netball and I know that that one day I will do the same. Netball makes me feel so good. I feel alive. When you are doing something you love, there is a feeling you get inside you and it feels good, I feel nice and, in fact, I feel well.” - Nabulo Mercy, 19, Uganda

 

7. Playing Games

“#MyTrueLove is to be a doctor to cure the sick and to help people. I love to play volleyball and hide and seek.” - Hanyuri, 11, Peru

 

8. Shooting Hoops

“#MyTrueLove is music and I also love basketball. But mostly I love music. I combine the two. Basketball goes hand in hand with music. Whenever you are making steps, you are training with headsets. As you listen to the music, you try to bring out the things. I feel relieved. When I go out to play, I make new friends so I feel comfortable whenever I play basketball. Mostly I listen to hip hop and a few RnB songs.” - Sharon, 16, Uganda

 

9. Being Alive 

“#MyTrueLove is my life. Every breath I take reminds me how lucky I am to be alive. I enjoy my life now and I am excited for what the future holds.” - Lora, 17, Zimbabwe

 

10. Learning

“I love studying with my friends and I want to be a teacher.” - Kimthong, 12, Laos

 

11. School

"I wash and care for my school uniform every night." - Delphine, Zimbabwe

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