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Intel helps bring education, 'Girl Rising' to life on screen


A global effort to educate girls is focus of new documentary

by: COURTESY OF MARTHA ADAMS AND GINA NEMIROFSKY - Girls check video at a World Vision drop-in center in India as part of the film 'Girl Rising,' which follows the lives of young women in nine developing countries.Oregon’s Silicon Forest anchor, Intel Corp., which has for decades invested in educational opportunities for children around the world, has worked with New York social action campaign 10x10 to bring the film “Girl Rising” to Portland.

The movie, which opens Thursday, March 7, follows nine girls in nine developing countries as they share their journeys to pursue their educational dreams. The film shows how those dreams create a ripple effect and change the world around the young women.

Recent international news about the educational plight of young girls in developing countries came into focus after an violent incident in Pakistan last October. Teenage activist Malala Yousafzai, who stood up for girls’ rights to an education, was shot in the head by a Taliban fighter. The 15-year-old spent four months in a hospital recovering and spoke on camera last month for the first time since the attack.

The United Nations set as one of its Millennium Development Goals that by 2015 both boys and girls in developing countries would be able to complete at least elementary schooling — which is not the case for girls.

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), 39 million girls worldwide are not enrolled in school and are denied a secondary education.

But advocates say there is hope.

“Education is a powerful catalyst for change,” says Jill Eiland, a Northwest region spokeswoman for Intel.

Elizabeth Nye, executive director of Girls Inc. of NW Oregon, will be part of a panel after the Portland film premiere. She says the movie is relevant for Portlanders because harassment in school is a major problem for girls everywhere.

“What girls around the world are experiencing is not that different from what girls are experiencing here in the U.S.,” Nye says.

The film, directed by Richard Robbins of Los Angeles, follows a young Cambodian girl named Sokha, who escaped a garbage dump where she lived as an orphan to become one of the top students at her school.

It also follows Ruksana, living on the streets of Calcutta, India, given a chance to escape those streets when she attends school.

Then there is Suma from Nepal, who at age 6 was sold into forced labor. She uses her education to fight for other girls’ freedom in her native country. Azmera stands up against the pressures of getting married in Ethiopia at 13, and with the help of her brother, receives an education. There is also Amina, a child bride who aims to defy the limitations of Afghan culture.

In the face of war-torn Sierra Leone, Mariama, the first of her family to receive an education, is going after her dreams as she hosts a radio show.

The film also follows girls from Egypt, Peru and Haiti.

“Girl Rising” was documented by writers native to each of the nine countries.

Celebrities Meryl Streep, Kerry Washington, Alicia Keys and Selena Gomez, among others, narrate the girls’ stories.

The 10x10 organization is promoting the film through a social action campaign led by documentary journalists and Intel.

“Girl Rising” will be shown in Portland on March 11 and March 18 at the Fox Tower, 805 S.W. Broadway.

To reserve a ticket, and for more film dates, visit the Gathr crowd-sourcing website, gathr.us.