Girls’ Education as key to development
More than 750 people turned out on March 20th for a special screening of Girl Rising at The Music Hall, making it one of the largest audiences ever in the Film Matters series. Girl Rising is a groundbreaking film, directed by Academy Award nominee Richard Robbins, which tells the stories of 9 extraordinary girls from 9 countries, written by 9 celebrated writers and narrated by 9 renowned actresses. Girl Rising showcases the strength of the human spirit and the power of education to change the world. Sharing the daily struggle faced by these 9 girls seeking a chance to be educated draws us powerfully into both the pain and success experienced by millions of girls worldwide.
Proceeds from the screening and pre-show gala benefited Portsmouth based NGO’s Rain for the Sahel and Sahara (RAIN) and Education for All Children (EFAC). RAIN forges partnerships with rural West African communities to realize their aspirations of education for their children, especially girls, who commonly drop out of school before the fourth grade. EFAC provides scholarships to girls in Kenya to complete their schooling. The film was followed by a thought provoking panel with Ugandan student Hope Mbabazi, RAIN founder Bess Palmsiciano, EFAC founding director Karin Barndollar and Girl Rising producer Tom Yellin. American Public Television President and CEO Cynthia Fenneman was on hand as the evenening’s moderator.
“The incredible and overwhelming response to this film indicates many of us understand that educating girls is a direct route to better futures for all. People here care deeply about this issue and are looking to affect change by supporting organizations such as RAIN and EFAC that are on the ground in Africa changing attitudes and lives. The evening’s success was an encouraging and inspiring sign of a new day for the future of girls around the world. Girl Rising underscores a core value at RAIN – that investing in a girl’s future is key to lifting families out of poverty.”- Bess Palmisciano, founder and director of RAIN.
Every day in West Africa, RAIN witnesses families faced with difficult choices that challenge centuries old customs and traditions. A father wants his daughter to help her in his store instead of attending class. A mother doesn’t understand the value of an education she never had, and feels her daughter should be helping at home and planning to get married. Community women who volunteer as mentors are trained by RAIN in gender issues and health education and work to advocate for at-risk girls with their families to keep them in school. In turn, girls are supporting themselves with the practical skills they are learning from their mentors while contributing to their families. Some are now graduating high school, the first girls in their communities to ever do so.
The seacoast of New Hampshire is RAIN’s home – we appreciate your support whether monetary contributions or volunteering your time. Thank you to all who attended Girl Rising!
We hope you’ll join us on June 13th, when The Music Hall and RAIN unite again to bring an electrifying West African presence to the stage — rising Malian star Fatoumata Diawara, singer, dancer and peace activist. BE SURE TO MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR THIS NOT-TO-BE-MISSED EVENT!
RAIN would like to extend our special thanks to: Tom Yellin, Cynthia Fenneman, Chris Curtis, Patricia Lynch, The Music Hall, 10×10 Productions, Anna Berry and The World Affairs Council of New Hampshire, Annie De Cossy of Opus Advisors LLC, Allison Pyott and David Hills of Veris Wealth Partners, Karin Barndollar, Harry A. Schult, Martha Fuller Clark, Joanne Lamprey, Janet Prince, Candace Stella, John Ahlgren, Lelia and John Lamson, Nancy Van Sciver, Optima Bank, Samonas Realty, PAX World Investments, Sheila Kelly, RAM Printing, Tulsi, Streetfood 360, and the Take Away Cafe.