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You Told Us The Hardest Things About Being 15: #15Girls

Prakriti Kandel wants to put a halt to menstrual taboos in Nepal — and the discrimination that goes with them.
Poulomi Basu/VII Mentor for NPR
Prakriti Kandel wants to put a halt to menstrual taboos in Nepal — and the discrimination that goes with them.

"I was 'smart' but I wanted to be 'cool.' "

"Hurricane Katrina hit."

"I was alone and homeless."

These are a few of the more than 1,000 thoughts that our audience shared when we asked them, "What was the hardest thing about being 15?"

The question came as we launched a series of radio and digital stories looking at 15-year-old girls around the world. We profiled girls in El Salvador living in fear of gangs, a Syrian refugee who had to give up high school to work as a potato picker, a teenager in Nepal who has to sleep in a shed when she has her period, and a child bride in India who can delay going to live with her husband if she gets good grades in school.

Girls and women from the U.S. to Yemen rose to the challenge, digging deep to share their own poignant, personal stories of life at 15.

We wish we could feature them all in this post, but you'd be scrolling down your smartphone until 2017. So here's a sampling. If you want to read more, see all the submissions here.

See all submissions to our #15Girls social media campaign here:

Thank you to everyone who took part in this action. It's not too late to share your story. What was the hardest thing about being 15? Post a photo of yourself as a teen with your answer on Twitter or Instagram, and tag your post with #15Girls and @NPR.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Malaka Gharib is the deputy editor and digital strategist on NPR's global health and development team. She covers topics such as the refugee crisis, gender equality and women's health. Her work as part of NPR's reporting teams has been recognized with two Gracie Awards: in 2019 for How To Raise A Human, a series on global parenting, and in 2015 for #15Girls, a series that profiled teen girls around the world.
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