I don’t know if any of you happened to watch the wonderful CNN Film ‘Girl Rising’ on Sunday night but I did and found the experience insightful and inspiring.
The documentary highlights the many obstacles and archaic systems that deny an education to a child simply because she is female. There are 66 million girls in the world currently not attending school, which is a travesty for so many reasons. 10 X 10 is the global action campaign that made the movie who believe that if you “Educate girls and you will change the world.” They believe that by educating girls you can:
- reduce poverty
- reduce child mortality
- reduce population growth
- reduce HIV infections
- reduce corruption
- change the conditions that lead to terrorism
The film begins by telling Malala’s story; the 14-year old schoolgirl who was shot in the head while on her school bus in Pakistan. Malala’s crime (apparently) was her strong desire to get a good education and her bravery in the face of opposition.
The film then introduces us to 9 girls from different parts of the world and follow their own harrowing stories in the quest for knowledge. Each story has been written by an acclaimed author from the subject’s homeland and narrated by many famous voices, including Meryl Streep, Selena Gomez and Liam Neeson.
The language is varied and extraordinary in its simplicity and weight.
“Money was still not completely clear to Wadliey. She knew that there was never enough of it, that some people had more of it than others and that it determined in many cases how people looked at you and talked to you and treated you. It was the reason some people ate three meals every day while others ate every couple of days. It was why, she was learning now, why some kids went to school and others did not.” Wadley is a young girl from Haiti who saw the devastation of the deadly earthquake in 2012 which destroyed her school. In the following months, the school reopened in a makeshift tent but they were charging money to all the students to attend. Wadley’s mother had no money so Wadley was told she could no longer attend school. But this young girl was determined to sit in on the class and after being sent away a few times she said she would keep going back every day until the teacher let her stay. The teacher must have admired her tenacity because she allowed her to stay.
The other girls whose stories are told include:
- Mariama from Sierra Leone
- Sokha from Cambodia
- Ruksana from India
- Senna in Peru
- Amina in Afghanistan
- Yasmin from Egypt
- Suma from Nepal
- Azmena from Ethiopia
Their stories are powerful. Each has overcome inconceivable obstacles to simply do something that we in the West take for granted;go to school. The film informs of the gross injustice done worldwide to young girls who are denied an education simply because they are female.
The film illuminates that “educated girls are a powerful force for change” and that when one young girl is schooled, the resulting effects better her entire community.
Ultimately I found the film hopeful and I highly recommend it, especially for those who think feminism has ‘won’. Check your local area for showings.