Thea (12) with Geir (37) plan to wed in Oslo. Foto: Plan Norge
A Norwegian blog supposedly written by a 12-year-old girl and informing the world about her upcoming wedding to a 37-year-old has caused global outrage.
Norway's first child bride and the schoolgirl in the photos, is actually an actress from Sweden and the blog was ghostwritten by global charity Plan International.
The blog, which is written in Norwegian, appears to have been penned by 12-year-old named Thea, who is preparing to get married to her 37-year-old fiance Geir on Saturday.
Check out the girl's mother's exclusive interview with The Local.
In it, she describes the countdown to her wedding on October 11th, and posts selfies of herself trying on dresses, sampling wedding cakes, trying out make-up and visiting the church in Oslo where she is due to get married.
Hundreds of worried readers in Norway commented on the blog, and asked Thea if she was really going to marry a man 25 years her senior and the hashtag #stoppbryllupet (stop the wedding) started trending on Twitter earlier this week.
But it has been revealed the girl in the photos is actually 12-year-old Swedish actress called Maja Bergström, who was recruited by the Norwegian arm of the global children’s charity Plan International. The organisation is aiming to raise awareness of the fact that 39,000 children around the world are forced into marriage every day.
One of Thea's blog posts describes her realisation that she may soon need to have a baby. She writes about her mother telling her off, adding: "She was pissed and said I had to stop and act like one child now that I will soon have my own family to take care of."
Plan International says it recruited a Swedish girl to take part in the campaign, rather than a Norwegian one to avoid its secret leaking.
"Yes, the girl is Swedish. The aim was to use a blonde girl in a campaign like this, is to raise awareness about the girls that are married off against their will every day," Sofia Klemming Nordenskiöld from the Swedish arm of Plan International told The Local.
"It's a fact that when we as an organization talk about 12-year-old Nargis who was married last week in Bangladesh it's hard to make people react, but when you read about Scandinavian Thea marrying a 37-year-old man the reaction is totally different".
She added: "It's just how it works, like it or not. The important thing for us is that the issue is raised and Plan has got a huge reach through this campaign".