By Mary Dixon
May 13, 2013
On Monday, May 13th, The Global Women’s Empowerment Network (GWEN) hosted a private screening of “Girl Rising“, a poignant, compelling, and powerful documentary which illustrates the importance of education to a girl living in a developing country and it’s impact on the world. The film is the centerpiece of 10×10, a social action organization whose mission is to seek educational equality and empower underprivilged girls across the world. Girl Rising, is a story which follows the lives of nine girls from nine countries-Afghanistan, Egypt, Peru, Nepal, India, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, and Cambodia. Each chapter explores the hardships a girl must face as they fight to achieve their dream of receiving an education. These individual hardships such as child slavery, arranged marriages, sexual violence, and poverty, are international social injustices evident in developing countries.
There is the story of Senna from Peru whose love for poetry gives her a voice to endure the reality of difficulities while the unbreakable and courageous spirit of Wadley from Haiti carry a unifying message that a girl’s courage can create a revolution. During the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Wadley, a determined young girl, sat down in class without having paid the fees. Once her teacher denied her the right to sit in class due to an unpaid tuition, Wadley said, “even if you send me away, I will come back everyday until I can stay.” Her determination is one of the highlight themes in “Girl Rising“. The girl rising embodies a spirit that will lead, study, and learn. An unbreakable spirit that if stopped, will be pushed to try harder.
Nothing can stop me Their stories are narrated by the likes of Meryl Streep, Liam Neeson, Anne Hathaway, Salma Hayek, andSelena Gomez. The vivid imagery of each girl’s struggle to attain education is supported by heart-breaking statistics interweaved throughout the film. These compelling stories are a small fraction of the 66 million girls throughout the world who are not in school. Arranged marriages and child slavery are some of hardships girls are exposed to when education is not an option for them. The film narrated that in this year alone, 14 million girls under the age the 18 will be married. Amina in Afghanistan, must face the reality of this statistic – a child bride, she was raised to believe her gender’s sole purpose was to serve men. But her courage has led her realize, “I am change.”
The Laemmle Music Hall Theater in Los Angeles that evening had 200 attendees who believed in that change for a girl’s right to receive an education. Tara-Nicole Azarian, Disney’s Friends for Change, supported the revolution, noting that “to do nothing is to be part of the problem.”
The evening included performances by American Idol Michelle Delamor, Max Schneider and Teen Artist Lizzie Sider.