Leslie Schaffer, 9th grade teacher, Atlanta, GA
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Why Girl Rising?
Girl Rising is about remarkable bravery in the face of daunting challenge. It is about connecting across cultures and continents. It is about how we all can be part of change and making the world a better place.
Girl Rising is a global non-profit that uses storytelling to raise awareness and ignite action so that girls everywhere are valued and educated. At the heart of our work, beginning with the original Girl Rising film, are powerful stories about courageous girls who confront the barriers to their independence, including poverty, child marriage, gender-based violence, domestic slavery, trafficking and tradition. At its soul is the hope and promise those girls represent.
Girls like Wadley, from Haiti, who refuses to accept that she can't attend school. And Sokha, from Cambodia, an orphan who scavenged in the garbage dump just to survive. And Azmera, from Ethiopia, who was destined to be a child bride until with her brother's support she said “no”.
Girl Rising’s message of resilience and possibility has captured the imaginations of young people across North America and around the globe. Girl Rising brings that same inspiration to the classroom, spurring students to see beyond their borders, value their education, think critically, and believe in their capacity to create change in their lives, their communities, and the world.
Girl Rising’s resources include a free curriculum for upper-elementary, middle and high school students; the original Girl Rising film (which can be seen as a whole, or "chapter" by "chapter"); a young adult book highlighting additional stories and diving deeper into the issues; and a growing community of collaborative educators. Designed to be flexible, it can be taught across subject areas and used in schools, in community settings, or even at home.
The newest resource – in response to the COVID-19 crisis – is a free Family Guide. Straightforward and easily accessible, it is designed so that anyone – parent, educator, student – can bring the Girl Rising conversation into the home. Girl Rising’s message of resilience and hope has never seemed more resonant; Girl Rising’s value of interconnectedness and responsibility to one another has never seemed more important; Girl Rising’s mission to inspire young people to become agents of change has never seemed more urgent.
The Girl Rising Educator community continues to expand: to date, more than 8400 educators from over 130 countries have registered for the free curriculum, with new teachers signing up every day (you can access it here). Working with local partners in school and community organizations, Girl Rising has programs in a growing number of countries, including India, Pakistan, Guatemala, Thailand and Kenya. The Girl Rising film has reached millions more in movie theaters, community screenings, and on television, broadcast globally by CNN International. Girl Rising continues to produce and tell new stories, create new resources, develop new collaborations, and look for new ways to promote empathy among young people, spark their natural curiosity about the world, and inspire them to become global citizens and local change-makers.
As Suma says in the film – after being liberated from a childhood of servitude and finally able to go to school: "I feel as though I have power now. I feel as though I can do anything. And I have important things to do."