As part of CNN’s Girl Rising project, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan joined the campaign for girls’ education by writing an open letter to girls of the world.
In her message, Queen Rania reminds all girls—as her daughters Salma and Iman remind her—that they far surpass the stereotypes that try to define them as “made of pink dresses… ribbons, bows and tiaras.” Young women, she describes, have innovative dreams and passions and are striving for change. To transform the world, however, the Queen describes that we must give girls our support—“it means using our voices to speak up for those who cannot yet be heard.”
To read Queen Rania of Jordan’s full letter, visit CNN.
Diana Rae Lewis likes it when men weigh in on Girl Rising. Too often issues concerning girls and their rights are only discussed by women. Diana wants more men to be included in the solution because men are too often included in the problem.
“We need to help men see the value of their daughters and wives,” said the mother of three boys.
Diana is the founder of Chicuchas Wasi, an alternative school for girls in Cusco, Peru. She fundraises from California while the school is run by Peruvian locals. Her school provides free education to girls and they’ve now added classes for men led by a male counselor/lawyer. The men have been very receptive to the lectures and consider the school a private support network where they can learn about a woman’s worth. Originally, some parents refused to allow their daughters to attend CW because they found it unnecessary but now fathers are showing up to volunteer at the school. Men and women are born on different starting points, but Diana is hoping we’ll all reach the same destination as we learn more about the benefits of proper education.
“Move ever upward toward greater consciousness…at the summit you will find yourself united with all those who have made the same ascent. For everything that rises must converge.”- philosopher Pierre de Chardin
It’s the time of year when most people take umbrage at filing tax numbers, but Chira Vathanaprida is focusing on a different set of numbers: 66 million girls out of school, 150 million girls victims of sexual violence, 14 million underage girls married every year.
These estimates communicate an important message about the current status of girls education and Chira, an analyst for a Seattle hospital, is putting a lot of stock in these statistics. “I’m very driven by numbers. I was shocked that so many girls still struggle to get an education. It’s good to give back and remind your friends to give back too.” Chira has successfully shared Girl Rising‘s facts with her friends and professional contacts. She also motivated a journalist to publish an article about her screening in the Seattle Post- Intelligencer, a notable online newspaper that named Girl Rising ”The Movie of the Year”.
Our lives revolve around numbers. However, with the help of screening captains like Chira, the odds are now in our favor- a country’s GDP increases an average of 3% when ten percent more of its girls go to school.
In 2002, Bill and Lauren Smith travelled to Cambodia and encountered a site that changed their lives.
As a photographer, Bill had been visiting Cambodia for several years to document the country’s landscape, but he and his wife could not have imagined what was occurring at the Phnom Penh garbage dump. Hundreds of impoverished children were rummaging among the trash there every day in search of materials from which they could make a small profit.
Upon returning to the United States, the Smiths began sharing the photographs of the children they had seen and the story of what they had done to help, and the encouraging responses that they received inspired them to found A New Day Cambodia. Today, the nonprofit organization provides safe shelter and funding for the education of about one hundred Cambodian children.
For more on the Smiths’ first trip and A New Day Cambodia, read the full article on CNN.
We continue to be blown away here at 10×10 by our supporters’ commitment to the cause of girls education! Recently, Girl Rising supporters Bridget Sauer, Mehves Tangun, and Thea Aguiar designed a t-shirt inspired by the girls whose stories are told in Girl Rising. The proceeds from sales of the shirt will go to the 10×10 Fund for Girls Education, where they will be used to help our Impact Partners continue their work improving the lives of girls worldwide.
To purchase the t-shirt, check out http://teespring.com/girlrising. Hurry, there is only 12 days left to purchase one!