Arts / Community

Girl Rising rises at Dana Saturday night

In a small village in Nepal, a young girl named Suma recalls how, when she was six years old, she was sold to her first master. She would spend the next seven years of her life enslaved, forced to cook, clean, and care for animals and her master’s children, who often taunted and beat her.

In Port-au-Prince, Haiti, an eight-year-old named Wadley recalls being forced to abandon her love of school so that she could work to help support her family after the 2010 earthquake.

Girl Rising,  a documentary about gender inequalities and education disparities, features Suma’s and Wadley’s stories, as well as those of five other girls — Azmera in Ethiopia, Senna in Peru, Mariama in Sierra Leone, Yasmin in Egypt, and Amina in Afghanistan — who shared their devastating stories with representatives working with the nonprofit, non-governmental organization 10 x 10.

In partnership with global health organizations such as Partners in Health, CARE, girl-up, Room to Read and many others, the Girl Rising filmmakers were able to enter developing countries and reach out to hundreds of girls in remote areas. The resulting compilation features the struggles and aspirations of these seven girls. As rape victims, child-brides, or slaves, all of the girls express a resounding desire for one thing: education.

Each of the seven girls was paired with a writer from her own country to help relay their story, sometimes using artistic interpretation, such as the young Yasmin from Egypt who chose to represent herself as a superwoman in her fight against a sexual predator. All are true stories crafted by the girls themselves, and only two of the girls, Yasmin and Amina, had to use pseudonyms and actresses to represent their stories out of fear for their safety. The other five acted out the events of their lives in directed reproductions. A collection of famous women in Hollywood (Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Selena Gomez, and many more) narrate the memoirs in tones that CNN describes as “intimate and defiant, but not pitying.” (See the official trailer here.)

Shocking statistics and poignant reflections translate what should be a universal fact: one girl with courage and access to education is a revolution. Girl Rising, directed by Richard E. Robbins, is an enlightening, exhortative argument for freedom, for education, and for change.

The film will be coming to Dana Hall Campus this coming Saturday, April 26, at 7 pm, sponsored by the 10th-grade class in collaboration with the organization Partners in Health. While the event is free, there is a $5 suggested donation that will go to the Girl Rising Fund through Partners in Health. It is a public event, open to the entire Dana Hall community and any friends or family wishing to attend. (Ticket information available here.)

Image: The Girl Rising movie poster.

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