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“I feel as though I have power.” These are the powerful words of one of nine girls whose stories are documented in the critically acclaimed film “Girl Rising.” Released this year and featured on CNN recently, the documentary follows the struggles of nine girls in nine countries all striving to achieve the same goal: an education. The obstacles they faced were daunting. From forced marriage to war, from bondage to orphanhood, these girls were able to climb out of the depths of despair with a perseverance that has already inspired millions.

The film’s Academy Award nominated director, Richard Robbins, describes his film project’s founding goals as, “Change minds. Change lives. Change policy.” His vision has since led to the 10X10 organization, a campaign that strives to educate girls around the world. Centered around the film, 10X10 has spread its roots through partnerships with companies like Intel that run programs to educate the world’s women, and through networks like CNN that promote women’s education via featured programs and documentaries.

Among the inspiring stories told in the film are those of Sokha and Azmera. Sokha, an orphan from Cambodia, struggled for most of her life to find enough food to eat. And Azmera, one of two children in her Ethiopian family, was nearly married off at the young age of 13. But for each girl a guiding light,  a “series of miracles” in Sokha’s case, and an incredibly supportive brother in Azmera’s case, helped them get to school. Sokha and Azmera’s narratives are shared by those of their counterparts in the film originating from Egypt, India, Nepal, Peru, Afghanistan, Haiti, and Sierra Leone.

These girls have found fans in some of the biggest names in Hollywood. Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Selena Gomez, Kerry Washington, Salma Hayak, Cate Blanchett, Frieda Pinto, Liam Neeson, Priyanka Chopra, Chloe Moretz, and Alicia Keys have all joined the campaign and are featured in the film.  In Meryl Streep’s own words, “If to see it is to know it, this film delivers hope; reasonable, measurable, tangible hope that the world can be healed and helped to a better future.”

– Lina Saud

Sources: 10 By 10 Act, Girl Rising, CNN
Photo: WWeek