According to the 2012 EFA Global Monitoring Report, there are 66 million girls out of school worldwide. That’s 66 million girls that dream of a better life full of opportunities. Girl Rising is looking to award those opportunities through education.
Girl Rising is an incredible organization that uses storytelling as a tool to communicate the simple idea that educating girls can transform not only individual lives, but also entire societies. The organization works in countries all over the world raising awareness about the issue, inspiring action, and driving resources to powerful partners that help them make change happen. They do this through advocacy videos, screening guides, and a free standards-aligned school curriculum. Their main tool is their incredibly inspiring documentary that made me want to originally join the movement.
We must remember that each life is precious and deserving of equal opportunity. Educating just one girl can not only change her life, but also change her community. According to UNESCO, a child born to a literate mother is 50% more likely to survive past the age of 5. Educated mothers are more than twice as likely to send their children to school. Girls with 8 years of education are 4 times less likely to be married as children. A girl with an extra year of education can earn 20% more as an adult. When a girl is educated, she learns more than just math and English. She learns that she is important. She stands up for her rights and she chases her dreams. This is a change that happens fast.
I became a regional ambassador for Girl Rising in January of this year. As an ambassador, I do my best to spread the message of Girl Rising in anyway I can. On Friday, May 8th, with the generous assistance of Key Club, I held a movie night for Sturgis students and faculty and screened the the very documentary that first motivated me to become a passionate advocate for girls’ education. 30 people came and were inspired in the same way I was. Through following the stories of several young girls from different countries across the globe, this movie touches your heart in ways I truly cannot put into words. If you have not seen it, you can find it on Netflix under “Girl Rising.”
The most important thing that came out of the Girl Rising event was that we raised enough money in donations to send a girl to school for a year. This may not sound like much compared to the aforementioned statistic that there about 66 million girls out of school globally. It may not sound like much when, also according to the UNFPA, 14 million girls under the age of 18 will be married this year. According to the World Health Organization, the #1 cause of death for girls ages 15-19 is childbirth. For each of these startling statistics, there are hundreds more to put a chill in your bone.
I hope Sturgis students will gain a perspective on this issue. We must think of our sisters in Afghanistan that cannot go to school because they are married and mothers before their 18th birthdays. We must think of our sisters in Ethiopia whose parents cannot afford to send both their children to school, so they send their son. We must think of our sisters across the globe who do not receive the same opportunities as us. We must feel grateful to attend school each day. We must use our educational resources to reach out to our sisters, to help them change the world, and to spread the word of Girl Rising. Join the movement. Let’s change the way the world values the girl.
To learn more, visit: girlrising.com