“Girl Rising”, featuring nine women from developing nations, harps on the significance of empowering womenfolk

“Sometimes after school I chase pigeons on the street and pretend I can fly away from danger,” said Sania from Afghanistan who featured in the presentation at the red carpet reception of the documentary film Girl Rising in New Delhi this week. The documentary that speaks about educating and empowering girls has been directed by Academy Award nominated director Richard E. Robbin in collaboration with 10x10, Vulcan Productions and Intel.

The evening started off with a panel discussion hosted by Shereen Bhan, Executive Editor of CNBC-TV18 in which she was joined by with Andrea Rodrigues from Care India, Bhagyashree Dengle from Plan India, Nalini Gangadharan from Cap Foundation, Jayakumar Christian from World Vision and Yashvinee Narechania from Room to Read. The panel emphasised on changing the mindsets, lives and policies, when it comes to the concern of girls and women. Andrea was of the view that “When girls are empowered, change takes place.” Bhagyashree revealed “About 90 per cent girls in India don’t feel safe outside their homes.” The panel discussed how to educate and empower girls and make them aware about the significance of education. .

Shereen, in discussion with Debjani Ghosh, Managing Director, Sales and Marketing, talked about the issue of having a small number of female achievers. Debjani said, “The girls today have very few options in choosing role models. They neither want to be Katrina Kaif nor Mother Teresa. They want to be Bill Gates or Narayan Murthy, which is hard to find.”

The documentary depicts the story of nine girls from developing nations who have taken a stand to get educated instead of getting married early on in life and movahead. May it be the story of Suma from Nepal, who sends out messages through her songs and helps free other slave girls or the story of Yasmin from Egypt who falls a victim to violence but fights back and becomes an inspiration or our own Rukhsana whose father, having very little, gives up everything for his daughters. Other stories find their way from Cambodia, Peru, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Haiti and Sierra Leone. Every girl’s story is written by a famous author or writer from their country and is rendered in the voices of renowned actors.

Later on, addressing the audience, Frieda Pinto, actress of the multi-award winning film Slumdog Millionaire, stated that “I had education and that’s why I am different.” Adding to it, she said that girls are subjected to violence, sexual harassment, are married off early and have fewer chances at every point in life and she appealed to change this attitude towards women.

(The documentary illustrated that “One girl with courage is a revolution” and give others the courage to move in life. Girl Rising will be telecast ed on CNN International this Saturday at 6:30 p.m.)