Yesterday I went to a screening of Girl Rising, hosted by members of a new platform called Collaborate Women and Girls.
Girl Rising is a movie about the human spirit, about the power of education and the huge benefits for society if they support the cause of women and girls. In India alone, if just 1% more women were supported through secondary school, the country’s GDP would rise by $5.5 billion, according to the CIA World Factbook. More such statistics here.
I’d read about the film online last year so when I heard they were screening it here, I jumped at the chance to go. The film is less of a documentary and more a feature film consisting of chapters. Each chapter is distinctly different from the others. Director Richard Robbins got different storytellers and media people to help make each one, running to about 10-15 minutes each. The narrators are as impressive as the writers of each story and include some big names – take a look here.
The film traces the stories of nine girls across the world who have faced considerable challenges to be educated, and in some cases just to live. We are introduced to some impressive real-world girls: such as Suma who overcame slavery in Nepal, Wadley who remained persistent in her love for going to school in the wake of Haiti’s earthquake, Azmera whose brother helped her to say no to child marriage in Ethiopia, Yasmin who was the victim of violence in Egypt, Ruksana who continues to go to school despite living in an Indian slum, Senna who struggles to survive in a Peruvian mining town in the Andes, Mariama who is making a name for herself as a radio show host in Sierra Leone and Amina who is still optimistic after becoming a wife and mother at 11 in Afghanistan.
If you get a chance to watch the film, do. Collaborate Women and Girls also hope to increase the number of people that continue to be involved in some way, through impact investing, donating, volunteering, being an advocate or helping to organise screenings of other movies like this. You can sign up to be notified here and there’s a full list of organisations already doing important work here. We heard last night from Justice and Care for example, who have helped bust criminal rings involved in the kidnapping of girls who are sold into prostitution in India and elsewhere. They also prosecute these criminals and rehabilitate the girls.
There’s a lot to be done, and it has to start somewhere.