As I watched my 10-year-old daughter practice cartwheels with her friends, I could not help but reflect on a girl the same age whose story I viewed in a film a couple of weeks ago. These carefree girls who whirl in front of me today are pure joy in motion. They are all giggles and silliness, while arms and legs whip past. The girl I reflect on was an 11-year-old pregnant child bride, and pretty much the antithesis of the scene before me now.
Her stolen childhood was depicted to me in the Rhode Island premier of the groundbreaking documentary film Girl Rising. Hosted at the Cable Car Cinema in Providence by Maternova. Girl Rising, was directed by Academy Award nominee Richard Robbins, and tells the story of 9 girls from around the world, girls living a very different reality than the one that I faced growing up, or that my daughters live today. The girls in the film each take on the unique challenges of their lives, and are rising up despite those challenges, through determination and education. It is the strength of their human spirit and will to move forward that gives the viewer hope for the girls of the world as well, and lets us envision better childhoods leading to successful lives for all girls worldwide in the future. Each girl’s story was written by a known writer from her country and narrated by a well-known actress. The stories were then woven in an innovative format that combines animation with documentary footage. Statistics are threaded into each poignant narrative to help the viewer grasp where the girl child stands today, and what the possibilities are if we support her.
Girl Rising spotlights the stories of nine unforgettable girls born into unforgiving circumstances. Girls like Sokha, an orphan who rises from a life in the garbage dump in Phnom Penh, Cambodia to become a star student and an accomplished dancer; Suma, who writes songs that help her endure forced servitude in Nepal and today crusades to free others; and Ruksana, an Indian “pavement-dweller” whose father sacrifices his own basic needs for his daughter’s dreams. -10×10.org on Girl Rising
One of the exciting aspects for me of being part of the Shot@Life campaign with the United Nations Foundation, is learning about all of the other amazing United Nations Foundation initiatives taking place as well. I head heard about the film Girl Rising as a centerpiece of the UN Foundation Girl Up campaign in partnership with the film’s creators at 10×10, a global movement promoting the education of girls in the developing world. When I looked into a local screening I was thrilled to learn not only that Maternova was located right here in Rhode Island, but that they were hosting the Rhode Island premiere of Girl Rising at the Cable Car Cinema. Maternova is an amazing mission-driven company committed to saving the lives of mothers and infants by providing healthcare innovations directly to frontline workers where they are most needed. Maternova concurrently incubates new products in their field, and has established a non-profit to assist in their mission of promoting maternal and infant health in developing nations. The attendance roster in the theatre that night really highlights the innovative global humanitarian hub that Rhode Island is becoming. With leaders in solutions to poverty, maternal health, and hunger from Edesia Global Nutrition Solutions, Solar Sister, and our hosts from Maternova, these women are change agents who are coming up with solutions to some of the worlds most vexing problems, and I was honored to be in their company. As a woman, as a mother, or as a global citizen with an interest in the future of our world, you will want to see Girl Rising. The film is sure to deepen understanding of the challenges our girls face, and lead us toward solutions. The Cable Car Cinema has one more screening of Girl Rising scheduled on the evening of April 1st, and Girl Rising will be broadcast by CNN Films this summer. View the Film Trailer below and read 13 facts you should know about Girls and Education from 10×10 here.