Girl rising is a revolutionary documentary based film which follows nine girls around different parts of the world and their fight to have access to an education. How foolish am I to have only just stumbled across this film which was released in 2013, directed by Richard Robbins. After being transfixed to my screen for nearly two hours, I fell asleep later that night on a pillow of tears and an infinite amount of sadness, as well as hope.
Arranged marriages, child slavery and an everlasting chain of heartbreaking injustices. This is what life consists of for so many young girls around our world.
This is their story.
Their story to breaking barriers and creating a change. Despite obstacles, a story of brave girls offering hope and inspiration to all. These are the girls rising.
I don’t think that many people realize the struggles girls in less developed countries go through and I believe it is down to both a lack of knowledge and also selfishness. It’s so easy to get caught up in our day to day lives where most of us, including myself, forget that we are the lucky ones. We forget that there is a world beyond our comfort zones and that there are bigger things happening as we speak, and we don’t not even speculate them.
Each of the nine girls were paired with a writer from their native country and these writers spoke the silences the girls forever dreamed of breaking. In Cambodia, Haiti, Nepal, Ethiopia, India, Peru, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan, girls are struggling everyday to have an education, a voice and freedom. All three which are basic rights.
It’s truly amazing how different each of the nine girls stories are, yet the similarities still somehow outweigh.
As so many girls are born into poverty it means they are not only unable to afford school fees, but they are needed to work to help support their families.
Suma told how she composed music to help her through the enforced servitude she faced growing up as a girl in Nepal, whilst an orphaned girl from the dumps and slums of Cambodian streets wished of one day becoming a dancer.
She done just this. A story was also told by a young girl living in the Middle East where girls are being forced NOT to go to school. If they even try to speak up they are instantly killed. Those who do not speak up are married to men double their age and even at an age of as young as seven years old. These girls do not have a childhood and rape, abuse, illiteracy and death should not be something known to them and the most startling part of the Afghan girls story, Aminia (whose real name can not be revealed in order to protect our safety and well-being), is that she is the only girl out of the nine who has an actress to playing her role. This is because her identity being known would most likely leave her husband/her community murdering her if they found out she was speaking out in a protest about and against her situation.
The film also holds the spotlight over a young girl from India, Ruskana, known as a “pavement-dweller” who’s family sacrifice the little and basic necessitates they own in order for Ruksana to fulfil her dreams of having an education which was so rare and becoming a renowned artist. Ruksana being able to go to school was a dream come true as it is, considering endless amounts of girls in India are being sold into slavery as young as six in order to provide money for their family. She was one of the lucky ones. She was a girl rising.
One of my favourite stories told, was that which was about a young girl from Haiti. Being struck by a natural disaster and living on piles of ruins, the girls of Haiti are struggling to have an education as schools simply no longer stand. Wadley and her family spent several weeks in a tent camp after the devastating earthquake hit. She was a young vulnerable girl living in a very hostile place, no environment for the upbringing of children. There was something so special about Wadley. Her strength, optimism and courage is something which has truly inspired me. It was if she had embodied the hope of Haiti. She had dreams. Dreams, hopes and ambitions. She dreamed that one day there would be change and I hope that one day Wadley thrives and flourishes, and will accomplish all of these dreams.
What touched me most about each of the girls was how despite the battles they we’re all individual encountering, not once did they complain or speak solemnly about the troubles they were facing. But instead they told a story about their people, their country, their culture, their families. They never once spoke in a selfish manor or begged that only they would rise. They were the voice of thousands, brave enough to speak and break the silence.
Education should not be something which girls wish to have and it should certainly not be determined by your gender. If 10% more girls were able to go to school, a countries gross domestic product could increase on average by 3%. Imagine how much it would rise if ALL girls were able to go to school. Just one year of primary education can also increase a girls eventual wage up to 15%.
These are the girls of our future and one day they will rise, because despite these odds against them, each of the girls still have a burning fire in their hearts. They want to learn and be the best girls they know they can be and they want to help others to achieve these too. They want all girls to rise.
I don’t want you to read this and forget about it. I want you to think and pass the message on. In the society we live in today we need constant reminding that the world has bigger things going on than that which revolves around ourselves. If we keep passing it on, these girls will realize and learn that the whole world is rooting for them.
10×10 is a global organisation for girls education and they working with partners around the world to make a change. Invest in a girl. One girl and you can change the world. Maybe not the whole world, but their world.
They need hope. They need support. They need change.
This film made me feel what those girls feel. It made me want to fight for them, to fight with them.
These girls are rising.
Have a watch.