One girl with courage is a revolution. – Girl Rising
2013 marked the second official year of the UN Day of the Girl (celebrated on October 11th). These past few days, I’ve been spending a lot of my time working with the Girl Rising Pakistan team to bring the internationally acclaimed film to Pakistan. I am extremely excited and proud to be a part of this movement as it signals a paradigm shift in the international movement for women and girl’s and gives a voice to untold stories of courage. It is an inspirational film about 9 extraordinary girls from 9 countries, displaying a show of strength and resilience in the face of all odds, empowered by education fearlessly ready to change the world.
The film spotlights unforgettable girls like Sokha, an orphan who rises from the dumps of Cambodia to become a star student and an accomplished dancer; Suma, who composes music to help her endure forced servitude in Nepal and today crusades to free others; and Ruksana, an Indian “pavement-dweller” whose father sacrifices his own basic needs for his daughter’s dreams. Each girl is paired with a renowned writer from her native country. Edwidge Danticat, Sooni Taraporevala Aminatta Forna and others tell the girls’ stories, each in it’s style, and all with profound resonance. These girls are each unique, but the obstacles they faced are ubiquitous. Like the 66 million girls around the world who dream of going to school, what Sokha, Suma, Ruksana and the rest want most is to be students: to learn. And now, And now, by sharing their personal journeys, they have become teachers. Watch Girl Rising, and you will see: One girl with courage is a revolution.
Advocacy and action for girls rights and girls education has been going on for years and its clear that there is no silver bullet that will magically solve all the facing girls and women, and society in general. Efforts are being undertaken across the world and the impact will gradually unfold resulting in progress towards achieving rights to education, family planning, maternal health, livelihood and a ultimately a safe life for girls and women. Many organizations around the world have been working on the women’s rights and advocacy, but I wanted to share one which is playing an equally strong role in its advocacy work and enabling grassroots action. Women Deliver is an international advocacy organization that brings together voices from around the world to call to action to address well-being and health issues for girls and women. Research by the World Bank suggests that pregnancy and the causes of childbirth remain the leading cause of death in women of reproductive age in developing countries today. They make up the majority of the labor force working on agricultural lands contributing to the informal economy. Women and girls are the greatest untapped potential and resource pool in the world. It is just smart economics – invest in a girl and you invest in the future. Women Deliver has been a front-runner in ground-breaking initiatives and the success of its 2013 Conference in Malaysia is a testament to its commitment to find an answer.
In 2012, it launched Catapult, a crowdfunding platform supporting projects helping girls and women across the world. Instead of re-inventing the wheel, Catapult engages individual donors like you and me to support organizations, with innovative game-changing ideas who are already doing great work on the ground. It leverages Women Deliver advocacy network and partners to accomplish something much larger than itself. To date they have crowdfunded 250 projects in 81 countries. Which project will you support today?