My husband Randy and I attended a screening of the stunning film Girl Rising the other night.
We can know in our heads that girls are mistreated and abused in many developing countries. It's something different to get that message shot like an arrow through your heart. That's how I felt while watching this film. Compelling stories of nine extraordinary girls from nine different countries are told. Their message is powerful: Educate girls and you will change the world.
My friend who organized the screening of this on-demand film in our community, reminded me to bring Kleenex. Of course, she was right. One of the girls whose story was featured, was sold by her parents into an arranged marriage at the age of 11 or 12--an all-too common practice. Her parents felt convinced that this was best to ensure a secure future for their daughter. The dowry was $5,000--money that was later used to buy a used pick-up truck for the girl's older brother. In another story, a young woman sobbed during childbirth because she had given birth to a baby girl and not a son. Girls aren't worth much in many cultures. What a tragedy!
But the message of this film isn't simply to play on your heart-strings. These nine girls have been empowered to make courageous choices...sometimes dangerous choices...to stand up and have a voice, to become educated and pass that hope along to other girls. Hope is embodied in each of their lives. One girl with courage is a revolution, says a quote on the Girl Rising website.
I came away from this film determined to do more to help educate impoverished girls. I also felt overwhelmed with gratitude. I was born into a family in the United States where I was cherished as a little girl. It was a given--I went to school. Every day for twelve years and then some, my parents and teachers encouraged me to learn...not only during childhood but for a lifetime.
Considering the world's population, only a few of us are this fortunate. With the help and generosity of concerned businesses: Intel Corporation, Vulcan Productions, The Documentary Group, CNN Films, and partners: Care, Girl Up, A New Day Cambodia, Partners in Health, Plan, Room to Read, and World Vision, the message of Girl Rising is changing girls' lives.
I hope you'll take time to check out their message and watch the movie trailer--and perhaps host a screening of this film in your community. You'll be glad you did.