Tuesday, 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 country 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.
I 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.
This 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.