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Girl Rising: A Truly Inspiring Documentary

Directed by Richard Robbins, an Oscar nominee, Girl Rising is an inspirational documentary that depicts the struggle of girls in developing countries. The stories of nine young women, from Cambodia, Sierra Leone, Haiti, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Peru, Egypt, Nepal, and India, show how education can play a vital role in lifting girls out of poverty like living conditions. The aim of the documentary is to shed light on issues that girls in developing countries have to go through to achieve their dreams, such as sexual abuse, poverty, child labor and child marriage.

The stories of all nine girls are truly inspiring and impactful. Among the nine stories, the film’s diverse subjects include an Egyptian girl who gathers the strength to fight back against her rapist, and forgives him when he pleads for his life to be spared; a Haitian girl who refuses to quit attending school despite her family’s inability to afford her tuition fee; a Nepali girl who fights against slavery and rescues children and a Peruvian girl, who dedicates her poetry in memory of her father, who pushed her to attend school.

Throughout the documentary, the idea is to inspire young children through the message that no circumstances can defeat education. This documentary can be perfectly looked at in the Pakistani context, as girls continue to fight for their right for education. The issues discussed in the documentary perfectly depict the Pakistani society of today, where girls in many areas of the country are often discouraged to attend school owing to cultural and societal norms. As girls in our country continue to dream big, and achieve their goals despite facing a multitude of hurdles, such a documentary could certainly inspire them to push harder no matter what situation they encounter. If the Pakistani film industry can look at this documentary as a blueprint, and produce similar films, the next generation can be truly inspired to look at education as their voice against the world.

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The documentary is surely relevant in the Pakistani context and reading your blog made me revisit a few statistics I came across while researching about the barriers to girls' education in Pakistan. According to UNICEF, a 2011 study of impoverished households found that fewer than 6% of parents disapproved of educating girls between the ages of 5 and 11 as compared to less than 1% disapproving educating boys. Moreoever, child marriage is a major reason why girls in Pakistan miss out on educational attainment as according to UN Women, Pakistan has the 6th highest number of girls married before 18 in the world. Over here, 21 percent of girls marry before age 18, and 3 percent marry before age 15.


I agree with the premise of this blog and how it is relevant in the Pakistani context. I have an example of my house-help who fought for her education, and was eventually able to escape child marriage because she had the knowledge to understand her rights and the need to have a supportive husband. Eventually, she married at an appropriate age to another educated man who let her work as a school teacher where she was able to pass on her knowledge and experience to other children. Moreover, I think it is also important to consider the cultural aspects of female education in Pakistan. In Pakistani culture, women are expected to get married earlier and care for their families, leading to…

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