Freida Pinto: “An educated girl will not only dream but also realize her dreams of becoming whoever she wants to be.”
Because I am a Girl global ambassador Freida Pinto graces the cover of Condé Nast Traveler magazine’s 2013 Visionaries issue, set to hit national newsstands on August 20th. Ms. Pinto is being recognized for her for partnership with Plan International in highlighting the importance of educating and empowering girls.
“I feel so honored to receive this award and grateful for the opportunity to shine the light on issues that affect millions of girls around the world. It's my sincerest hope that readers are moved by the stories of these young girls that I will continue bringing to them,” says Ms. Pinto.
Girls are more likely than boys to suffer from malnutrition; be subject to violence; be forced into early marriage; be trafficked, sold, or coerced into the sex trade; or become infected with HIV. Often denied access to education and healthcare, girls languish behind their male counterparts.
But Ms. Pinto is working to change that, by giving her voice to the millions of marginalized girls around the world who are excluded from school. “The way to end the cycle of poverty, reduce the number of teenage pregnancies and early marriage, and address many other ills that befall our girls is through education,” she says. “By making a girl aware of her fundamental human right to education, she will have a voice. She will marry later. She will have fewer and healthier children. She will be self-sufficient. She will have educated children – her daughters and her sons – who will then educate their daughters.”
In May, Freida Pinto traveled to Ethiopia to visit a number of community projects and learn about the unique challenges girls there face. More than three million Ethiopian girls between the ages of 7 and 14 are not in the classroom. Many girls have never had a chance to go to school because of lack of financial resources or proper school facilities, and many more are forced to drop out of school and devote their time to household chores, or to marry at a young age to ensure their survival. The hardships of daily life that revolve around fetching water leave girls vulnerable to abuse, abduction, and rape.
In Ethiopia, Plan works to help communities understand the transformative power of promoting girls’ education at the individual, family, and community level. The Girls’ Empowerment through Education Project is working to improve access to and the quality of education for 5,000 school girls outside Addis Ababa. This includes the construction of separate latrines for girls, hand-washing facilities, and science labs in schools so that girls and boys have a safe place to learn. Plan also supports microfinance and savings and loan opportunities for women, and vocational training aimed at lifting them out of financial dependence.
Other 2013 Condé Nast Traveler magazine Visionaries include:
- Actor Ian Somerhalder for harnessing social media to energize a new generation of conservationists
- Artist eL Seed for using Arabic graffiti as a force for peaceful expression and social change
- Architect Shigeru Ban for building sustainable shelters to restore dignity to people who have lost everything
- President Ian Khama for his vision in restoring Botswana
- The New York Times for doubling down on international news coverage
- Dr. Greg Allgood for his commitment to saving millions of lives through clean drinking water, while forging new models for responsible business
- Mexico president Enrique Peῆa Nieto for taking on Mexico’s old guard to fight hunger and corruption.