Blogger Building Partnerships committee

Educate Girls and Change the World

“One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world.”                                
­ Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

Young Malala – the girl who survived a brutal assassination attempt – has spent most of her life fighting for the right to learn … not only for herself but for every child, especially girls.

Studies around the world consistently show that educating girls can break the cycle of poverty – in just one generation. Even the White House is getting involved: First Lady Michelle Obama made recent international headlines with Let Girls Learn, a global initiative to enable adolescent girls to complete school. The First Lady speaks for #62MillionGirls!

As a leader in the girls’ education movement, Girl Rising is working closely with FLOTUS to enable and empower girls. In 2013, the film of the same name, debuted with nine stories of nine girls facing nine challenges around the world. Nine leading writers with direct connections to each of the nine countries captured the stories, which were voiced by nine actresses who used both their fame and their convictions to empower girls.

Bringing Girl Rising into classrooms and libraries couldn’t be easier – it begins by clicking here. Thanks to the Pearson Foundation, the film is available with a comprehensive curriculum guide so versatile that it can be used across age groups and disciplines, from literature to economics to social studies to politics and more. And yes, the curriculum meets the U.S. Common Core State Standards.

New York Times-bestselling author Loung Ung – a survivor of the Cambodian Killing Fields – with Alicia Keys, tells the story of Sokha, who was once an orphan scavenging through rancid garbage dumps to help support her family. National Book Critics Circle winner and National Book Award finalist Edwidge Danticat, with Cate Blanchett, presents the story of 7-year-old Wadley, whose home is a dangerous refugee tent camp in post-earthquake Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

The Ethiopian-born Maaza Mengiste – a Pushcart Prize nominee and Dayton Literary Peace Prize Fiction nominee – with Meryl Streep, embodies 13-year-old Asmara, who somehow defied generations of tradition and escaped the perils of child marriage while fighting for her chance to be educated. Oscar-nominated Indian screenwriter Sooni Taraporevala, with Priyanka Chopra, captures the story of 11-year-old Ruksana, whose parents moved from their rural village to the squalid streets of Kolkata – just so their children could go to school.

Anywhere and everywhere in the world, when girls go to school and get an education, they speak up, they stay healthy, they save money, they build businesses. Then they pass it all on: poverty declines, progress happens.

Share the stories, multiply the impact. Educate girls, change the world.


Terry Hong writes BookDragon, a book blog for the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. She is the chair of the 2016 USBBY Outstanding International Books committee. She has written this post as a member of the ALSC National Organizations Serving Children and Youth Committee.

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