Educate Girls, Change the World

girlrising4Tuesday, the Winnipeg Real to Reel Film Festival kicked-off with the documentary, Girl Rising. The film takes us on a journey around the world, from Peru to Egypt, Sierra Leone to Afghanistan, to hear the stories of nine girls and their struggle for education. The film’s mission is to share a simple fact with the world: that educating girls can transform societies.

The filmmakers paired each girl with an author from their own girlrising3country to tell their story. Each beautifully written story, told from the individual girl’s point of view, had a unique voice and style. It plunged the viewer into the girl’s life, her family, and her culture.

girlrising2I expected heartbreak when I entered the theatre and I got it. Did you know that the leading cause of death for girls aged 14-18 around the world is childbirth? That blew me away. But what I didn’t expect was the hopefulness—the grin of a spunky Haitian girl who refused to let anyone tell her she couldn’t go to school, the courage of a twelve-year-old rape victim who called herself a superhero, an eleven-year-old mother determined to continue her education. Each of these girls was strong, resilient, and hopeful. They wanted to get an education so they could change their worlds.

girlrising5This documentary is a must-see. I walked away with a better understanding of the impact educating girls can have on poverty, child marriage, and family and community health. This is a cause worth fighting for.

If you’re a Winnipegger make some time this weekend to come out to the film festival and catch Girl Rising, showing Friday, February 21 at 8:30 pm and Saturday, February 22 at 6:30.

Death, Questions, and Reflection

IMG_5013Death always causes us to question and reflect. What am I doing for others?

That’s the question I’m left with after my grandmother’s memorial. During the sharing time, her friends and family shared over and over about how much she gave of herself for them. One friend asked everyone to raise their hand if they’d received a hand-made gift from her. Most of the mourners put up their hands.

She left a legacy of care and love that won’t soon be forgotten. It made me question, what kind of legacy am I leaving?

My grandmother was a gifted painter and quilter. Everyone in my house sleeps under IMG_5058quilts she made. But, how can I use the things I can do for the betterment of others?

How can I use my writing to lift others up? I’m really not sure at this point. I’ve been keeping my eyes open and I’m hoping that if I’m searching, an opportunity will find me.