10×10 helped close the 2012 Women in the World Summit in New York City today at the Lincoln Center. After bravely opening the conference on Thursday evening, Suma Tharu, our stellar girl from Nepal, once again took the stage to sing her personal story of six years of indentured servitude.
With a composure you wouldn’t expect from her diminutive stature and poor, rural background, Suma sang to thousands of some of the most influential women (and a few men) in the world. We learned this week a bit more about the source of this strength.
Before departing Nepal, a couple of her friends instilled in her a sense of great moral responsibility; as in, ‘you are speaking on behalf of all of us, so go and be strong.’ People from surrounding villages also met with Suma before she left Nepal, each one presenting her with a different piece of jewelry to wear for the performance. They were asking that she travel on behalf of her entire region. Suma knew she had a great opportunity here and she did not take it lightly.
After her song, ABC News’ Juju Chang interviewed Suma on stage. When asked where she sees herself in a few years, Suma quickly shared that she wants to work for an organization that works for the rights of women. This former Kamlari wants to fight for the rights of women.
That’s the multiplying effect of an empowered girl. That’s the power of girls’ education to change the world.
See for yourself in the video of Suma’s song and interview:
Suma was immediately followed by two women she had likely never heard of until today: Academy Award winner Meryl Streep and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Secretary Clinton recounted Suma’s story, praising the effective work of our partner Room to Read in providing girls like Suma an education – important work that is supported by the US State Department.
10×10 Director Richard Robbins also spoke at the summit, explaining the power of telling stories about inspiring girls to effect action. Of the girls in the 10×10 film, Richard said, “These girls are revolutionaries who have a vision for the world that goes beyond themselves; they are determined to create change.” Hear more from Richard here:
Want to help? Our partner Room to Read, through whom we met Suma, is helping rescued Kamlari—and the hundreds of millions of girls like them living in developing countries—get an education. Support girls through Room to Read today.