March 6, 2013 not only marked Ghana's 56th Independence Day; it was also the world premiere of the feature film Girl Rising! I had an amazing opportunity, courtesy of Plan International USA, to attend this memorable event. It all began with opening remarks from Holly Gordon, Tom Yellin, and Richard Robbins. Then came the moment we had all been awaiting for: the words “Girl Rising” appeared on the screen. Narrated by incredible actresses, the stories of these nine girls unfolded beautifully on film.
Featuring nine inspiring adolescent girls, nine aspirations, and nine amazing stories of determination, nothing captured the essence of educating and empowering a girl like this movie did! It embodied so much hope despite the insurmountable obstacles faced by these girls.
As I sat there watching Wadley, Yasmin, Suma, Senna, Azmera, Ruksana, Sokha, Amina, and Mariama, there were moments when I could not help but get teary-eyed. There were also moments when I sat there thinking, “That could have been me.” Growing up in Ghana, there were days when I was not sure I would be able to return to school, but thanks to my determined parents (like Ruksana's), even when there was no food on the table, there was somehow money for school.
It is because of that perseverance and belief that education could change my trajectory, that I am in college today. No one can tell me education hasn't changed my life and that of my community. We so often take for granted the privileges we have, yet there are many girls and boys around the world who wish for a pen, a pencil, a book, a school uniform, multiplication tables to learn, a place to hope, and a place to see beyond the present.
My hope is that you will go see Girl Rising and be inspired to act. Tell a friend about the film, donate to organizations like Plan, or better yet, do both! Money cannot change everything, but it can provide many great opportunities. I believe that, with your help, not only will every girl go to a good school that enables her to empower herself, but quality education for girls will not have to be campaigned for anymore; it will be the norm.
Congratulations to 10x10 and all the organizations – including Plan – that are working every day to ensure that every girl receives quality education.