Girls’ rising isn’t rising, it has risen before us.

This is a film the male proportion of the world should watch, not only because they are a huge part of the problem. Rather because they could help us solve it. Girls’ rising is a film title directed by Richard E. Robbins, and it was produced in the hopes of awareness and to help those in need. The film includes nine authentic stories from nine different girls from each corner of the world. However, the actors you see might not be the real girls. Some of them had to be replaced for the sake of their own safety.

After watching the film, the popular catchphrase made more sense. If you have not seen the film, then the catchphrase I am talking about is “one girl with courage is a revolution”. Before I watched Girls’ rising, it was strange to read. One girl? What can one girl do when a whole world will not come together and make a pact of peace and concord? Even so, the film proved my mind wrong. It is possible, a girl can change and challenge the limits of our society. It has opened my eyes to so much more than how girls should be emerged into education by the fact that everything is possible if you want it to change. On the other hand, if one girl with courage is a revolution, what does courage mean? Does it imply that the girls are superheroes and have unbelievable strength or does it mean that they are strong individuals with the passion to change their lives? Maybe it does not imply any of the descriptions I have listed, or maybe it implies to them all… you can decide for yourself after reading this.

Courage is by definition: to be able to go against something you fear, but in my opinion, it also has something to do with your soul. If you can be able to put yourself as the latter and stand up for the less fortune, then you are filled with courage. It is something basic, maybe even primal. It does not necessarily mean that you need to stand up to someone or something you are afraid of. It is like the fight or flee response, you do not know your reaction before the situation occurs. It has never been easy to know, and it will never be, it is a part of who we are as humans. Each of these girls are filled to the brim with courage, and with courage there comes hope. Hope for a better world, and they made their world better.

 

 

Humans are complex and complicated, we are made up by atoms, but we still have feelings. Even if girls’ rising is not pure journalism or fiction, does not mean it does not convey the feelings and the meaning behind the scenes. Every action and every word uttered in the movie is the truth many young women from developing nations are facing. I lost myself to their stories, not because they were tragical or sad. I was rather pulled in by the fierceness and courage they represented. Some of these women dared to show their faces and names to the public. Even though they know they may get negative consequences later, they pull through. Not all of them had the same effect on me. Mariama for example, she was a radio host who helped callers to solve their problems. Her story was not epic, she believed in herself and in the help she gave others. She was different from the others in some way I can not describe, but she changed my view of young working women. While watching some of the stories I could not connect as well as others, but it is foremost hard to look at them all and not think they are victims of multiple horrendous acts of human beings.

Suma is a girl from Nepal. Her tale embraces the hardship of being indentured at an early age, her struggles to be sold between different masters and her journey to freedom. Suma was nine years old when she was first sold. Her parents had a low income, they could not support Suma with their wages. By selling their child, they would earn money enough to survive. Suma however were treated cruelly by her masters, which made singing a safe retreat. A teacher convinced her master to let her educate Suma. Now she is free of all slavelabour and is currently a peer counselor to help girls overcome traumas like she once experienced. This might be the story which made me feel the most involved and gave me the best impression. The fact that her parents sold her for money is hard to envision. To visualize how it would have been for me is absurd, on the verge of preposterous. I just can not visualize it. Her story brings sadness as well as cheerfulness, sadness as the story goes through her dark past, but cheerfulness as she passes on to her educational future. She is a role model for young girls who suffer, but also to the girls who does not. She gives us hope for a bright future.

These are nine girls, all over the globe, who have started revolutions. Some big, some small. It does not matter how small it was, it started with a girl’s act of courage after being enslaved, forced and/or being under poverty. These are not modest violations of law, neither national or international. These nine girls have shown us and opened up to us more than we could ever ask of a person. After all they have been through, they still do not see themselves as victims. I can see why, they were the lucky ones. The victims are still out there. The women who are raped, enslaved, forced or persuaded to do any kind of actions the master of the household wants, are these victims. The women we have seen have been saved, not from the memories, but from the actions. They are fighting the battle from the outside and are now trying to save those in need. Along with the fact of myself being the “victim” of an autoimmune disease makes me relate in a curious way. I can relate with the fact that I do not see myself as a victim, rather a fighter. I fight against my body every day in every shape or form I can, and I am winning. These nine girls are on their way to victory as well. They are strong and independent women who possess courage, that is all that matters.

I, who have seen this movie, knew on beforehand the issues these countries possess. It is hard to see time after time the hardship these girls go through from childhood until womanhood. If an ignorant person would watch this movie it would be difficult for the viewer to watch. We, or at least me, live as a member of the developed world which has almost none of the problems that are faced in the film. Teenagers from our part of the world will never know how it would be to live in an arranged marriage or forced to be a slave. Any of the hundreds of feelings humans have been endowed could fill the person watching this film for the first time. It might feel unexpectedly known, or it might feel surrealistic. The shock this film might dispense to the person watching can be massive, it has the ability to open the eyes of many. It already has, U.N. launched a month-long global awareness campaign after the film was released. There is not many that live in the ignorance we were faced with previously. We are better at awareness and understanding the issues around the world.

The world has changed substantially since year 2000, the awareness we have to date in comparison of then, is breathtaking. We have taken the issues we had and still have into our education to teach our youth what they should never do, and how they can avoid historical disasters. If you think of the total change since the movie came out, then there has been a good increase of girls in education in most developing countries.

The nine girls who once were in awful surroundings, are now the girls living in a better environment. Sokha has been invited to speak at an International Women’s Day Conference in New York. Wadley is in school and is loving it. Suma is also in school and is exploring future possibilities, including vocational or medical assistant training. Yasmin has not been in contact with Plan international since she was 13 years old, but at the time she was engaged, and her mother would not let her go to school. Azmera aspires to attend Addis Ababa University and become a teacher and a community leader who works against child marriage. Ruksana is still in school and is excelling in mathematics and geography, even though she lives on the street, her life looks bright. Senna and her family managed to move off the mountain and Senna continued going to school. She recently stood up at a meeting with local officials to demand better sanitation for her old school. Mariama passed her final exams not long ago and is going to university soon. Amina can not be in contact with the organization since it could endanger both her life, and the progress done in Afghanistan.

If you have not seen this film you should, it is filled with wonderful moments of hope and joy, even after disasters. It is truly something amazing. From the strong impression of Suma to the hopeful tale of Wadley, they have managed to make a quality documentary film to feature the challenges of developing nations. Courage is inside everyone, to make use of it you need to look deep and face it. It is important to not look at people who has faced difficulties as victims, but rather as fighters and survivors. Not as someone to needs to be taken care of or to be sheltered. We need to help these women and let their youth know the wonderful aspects of being young and free. They need to be informed of their possible choices in life, not pushed down into submission where they will not use their capacity or ability in other fields that needs them. This film has not only changed the lives of nine young girls, but they have helped several others in the community to get better lives. Again, if you still have not watched the movie I would suggest you watch it right away. No matter how old you are or what gender you have. It has the power to change lives, yours included.

Sources:

Girls’ rising. Dir. Richard E. Robbins. The documentary group and Vulcan productions.

“Girls’ Rising.” Girl Rising, girlrising.org/.

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The importance of quality education and gender equality.

To know there are several nations willing to focus on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, makes me proud. 17 goals to better the world, and the world is working hard together to reach the set goals before year 2030. My class decided that the two most important goals of the seventeen, is goal 4 and 5. They are the goals focusing on quality education and gender equality. So, now I will write more about those two goals, to understand why we have them in our “Sustainable Development Goals” and what makes them so important.

 

 Goal 4: Quality education

The reason quality education became one of the main sustainable development goals in 2015 was to reduce the number of children who didn’t get an education. They have come a long way since 2015, there are now 91% enrollment in primary school in developing countries and 3/4 girls are in school in developing countries. However, there are a much to do to reach the end goal. There is still 103 million children who doesn’t know how to do basic literacy and 60% are women. Half of the children who aren’t in school is living in conflicted areas. Conflicts, poverty and other emergencies are stopping education to reach the children who lacks it. It’s the barrier we must tear down, the children is the future. Without quality education won’t the world become a better place.

 Goal 5: Gender equality

There are 49 countries which has no laws protecting women from domestic violence, meanwhile 1 in 5 women between the ages of 15 – 49 has reported experiencing physical or sexual violence. This is not right, there are still people practicing child marriages and female genital mutilation. These practices are both physically and mentally harmful for the child. Gender equality is a basic human right, and it’s important. We are in no way or form close to be finished with gender equality, there is a long way to go. Still, there have been and there is positive outcomes out of making gender equality a SDG. The risk of marrying before you’re eighteen in Southern Asia,  has dropped by over 40% since 2000. There are more than 30% women holding seats in national parliament in 46 countries. When gender equality is worldwide then we will see a much more balanced, peaceful and prosperous society.

 Is Goal 4 and 5 intertwined?

By having more girls in school, increases the gender equality. Just as much as giving women the rights they deserve will lead to a quality education. It’s almost impossible to have the one and not the other, they build on each other and help each other grow. With knowledge we can construct a society which will realize that women is equal to men. With equality we can give each other equal chances to get a quality education. The possibilities are endless, but at the same time we need to plant seeds into the countries which won’t let these possibilities grow. With a small push it may be possible to reach both the goals before 2030.