Day of the Girl: It’s All About Education
“This is how it happens. One girl follows behind the other, until together they move forward, towards something – a Future.” Girl Rising
Around the world, millions of girls face barriers to education that boys simply do not. And yet, when you educate a girl, you can break cycles of poverty in just one generation. Removing barriers to girls’ education – like early and forced marriage, domestic slavery, sex trafficking, gender violence, discrimination, access to healthcare, school fees and access to markets—means not only a better life for girls, but a safer, healthier and more prosperous world for all.
It’s a simple proposition but one that has faced seemingly insurmountable odds as institutionalized and cultural misogyny get in the way of the goal. In some places, those hoping to educate girls, and the girls striving to learn, even risk their lives just to achieve an education.
The 10×10 Campaign hopes to change that. 10×10 is a global action campaign for girls’ education that brings together a powerful mix: dedicated journalists, business and political leaders, students, teachers, activists, philanthropists, artists, celebrities and supporters who believe in the importance of investing in girls. And on this first International Day of the Girl, it’s a campaign that is getting results.
“The idea” said Holly Gordon, Executive Director of the 10×10 Campaign, “was to use the energy of making a movie and these stories to drive a global movement. We wanted to create a platform to share some of the voices from around the world of girls and their families giving everything for an education.”
“These girls have something to say,” said Gordon. “They are revolutionaries themselves. The choices are stark. Some girls are just trying to achieve one more week of school. Their families are deciding whether to invest in their education or to invest in food.”
The centerpiece of 10×10 is a feature-length film, Girl Rising, slated for release in March 2013. This film reveals the extraordinary stories of girls from around the globe fighting to overcome impossible odds on the road to realize their dreams of education. The director, Richard E. Robbins, is an award-winning documentary director, writer and producer. In 2008, his documentary – Operation Homecoming – was nominated for an Academy Award.
The film includes voice performances from three-time Academy Award winner Meryl Streep, two-time Academy Award nominee Anne Hathaway and Selena Gomez among others. The ten countries included in the film are Afghanistan, Cambodia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Nepal, Peru, Sierra Leone and Uganda. Ten writers were selected – one from each country – to help provide a clear, indigenous voice for the film’s stories.
A short preview of the film will debut at the Sundance Film Festival in January, 2013 The theatrical release of the feature length film will follow in March 2013.
But it’s not just a movie. 10×10’s incredible Global Champions include Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan, Isobel Coleman (Council on Foreign Relations), Tina Brown, Angelique Kidjo (Beninoise singer-songwriter and activist), Archie Panjabi (actress), Maya Haile & Marcus Sammuelson (Model; Celebrity Chef).
10×10 has also tapped a coalition of NGOs to create a high-impact network of champions and leaders in girls’ education. These organizations, which provide life-changing services to girls every day, include: Afghan Connection, A New Day Cambodia, CARE, UN Foundation’s Girl Up, Partners in Health, Plan International, Pratham, Room to Read and World Vision. A few examples include:
Afghan Connection supports schools, teachers, and sports opportunities in rural Afghanistan – and has educated over 40,000 boys and girls.
A New Day Cambodia provides food, shelter and education to Cambodia’s garbage dump scavenger children.
Girl Up educates, motivates and trains American girls to become global leaders while channeling their energy and compassion to raise awareness and funds for United Nations programs that help some of the world’s hardest-to-reach adolescent girls.
Partners in Health delivers life-saving care in some of the poorest corners of the globe, ensuring girls have access to health services as part of their mission to break the cycle of poverty and disease.
Plan International USA works side by side with communities around the world to end the cycle of poverty for children. Plan’s Because I am a Girl Campaign is a global initiative committed to fighting gender inequality, promoting girls’ rights, and lifting millions of girls out of poverty.
Pratham is the largest educational movement in India and provides Indian youth with the educational environment and tools to learn, grow, and break the poverty cycle.
This is how it happens. One dedicated activist follows another, until together they move forward toward something. A revolution.