I'd been hearing for months about a film called Girl Rising - a documentary about the role education can play in lifting girls out of poverty around the world.
I finally took my daughters to see it last weekend in Fort Lauderdale, and I'm so glad I did.
Girl Rising, produced by journalists over several years, profiles nine girls from nine countries. Each was paired with a writer to tell her story, which is narrated by well-known actresses (Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Selena Gomez and more).
Miami mom and author Edwidge Danticat tells the story of a little Haitian girl named Wadley, who shows up at school after the earthquake and refuses to leave, despite her mother's inability to pay.
There's the story of Suma, who was sold into bonded labor at age 6 in Nepal. Now she works to free other girls.
There's Ruksana, whose family lives in the slums of India so the children can attend school.
The stories are all painful to watch. One girl is violently attacked. One, covered head to toe in a burka, can no longer provide updates to the filmmakers for fear she will be killed.
I was worried that the film, rated PG-13, would be too much for my 10-year-old. But turns out, she was the most inspired by it. Later at home, she looked up the film's website and took in all the details of where the girls are now. She went to school and told her friends about it, even showed them the website during computer time.
She has been talking about it all week.
It's important for our American kids, who are boundlessly wealthy compared to so many others, to understand their good fortune. And to know that they can use that good fortune and the power of their own education to right this wrong for others around the world.
We have to show them stories like this.
Girl Rising is being distributed through Gathr.com. Hosts from various communities find a venue and arrange a date.
They have to sell at least 100 tickets to be able to show the film. It's a great project for a PTA, a house of worship or any organization that works with kids.
There are two more screenings in the works for South Florida:
- 7:30 p.m. Oct. 2, South Beach Stadium 18
- 7:30 p.m. Oct. 10, Kendall Village Stadium 16
Thanks to Maggie Macaulay at WholeHearted Parenting for organizing the Fort Lauderdale screening.
This film is a good way to start with your own kids.