Girl Rising is the feature-length film at the center of 10×10′s global action campaign for girls’ education.The film reveals extraordinary stories from around the globe, of revolutionaries fighting to overcome impossible odds on the road to realizing their dreams of education.. Coming Spring 2013.
10×10 Director, Richard Robbins sent us his thoughts from the field while filming 10×10 in Peru.
I haven’t made it up to La Rinconada yet – still trying to acclimate to 13,000 feet before heading up to 17,000. I have now been to eight of our 10 countries. I figure I’ve now seen enough to offer some general observations about the world. Mostly the not very profound things that have occurred to me over the last two years, from a tired American traveler’s perspective.
So here, in no particular order, are 10 thoughts about the planet and traveling it.
- The bicycle is a staggeringly important invention. Most of us don’t realize how this simple piece of technology transforms many millions of lives. The world would not function without it.
- It doesn’t take too much travel to realize that we Americans coddle our children, very often to their detriment. Children are truly capable, and basic responsibility is not a burden to them.
- When in doubt, don’t eat it. A little hungry is a lot more manageable than a little sick. And honestly there is rarely such a thing as “a little sick.” Oh, and you do not want to try the local delicacy. I promise.
- Dignity is the most precious human commodity. More than health, money, power or even education.
- Long-term planning is not a skill or a lifestyle or a cultural phenomenon. It’s a luxury afforded those of us with a somewhat certain future.
- The joy of children is universal. And there is no creature on the earth more adorable than a little girl. Little boys can be cute too but they have a nasty habit of throwing rocks at things they find interesting. Like me.
- The world has an extraordinary shortage of trash cans and a lot a lot of trash. Also, in most of the world there is really no such thing as clean, just degrees of dirty.
- When taking care of business, a careless squat (for those of us without a lifetime of practice) can be catastrophic. A mistake you will only make once (sober).
- There is more kindness and more cruelty in the world than you can ever get your head around.
- There is no national or cultural dominance when it comes to annoying ringtones. They are everywhere.
Go ahead, let 10×10 novelist Maaza Mengiste take you far beyond the typical haunting images of Ethiopia – barren natural disasters and widespread starvation – that most of us in the West have been saturated with for far too long.
Open Maaza’s critically-acclaimed debut, Beneath the Lion’s Gaze, and meet the Hailu family. We meet the Hailus as Ethiopia is on the verge of the horrific 1974 revolution that ousted a 3,000-year-old deified monarchy. This monarchy was replaced with a brutal regime that destroyed hundreds of thousands of lives. As if piecing together an intricate puzzle, Maaza presents an epic historical moment too few of us know of, laying the most atrocious acts next to radiantly tender moments. The story of the good doctor Hailu and his two sons will prove unforgettable.
Choose Maaza’s Beneath the Lion’s Gaze for your next book club meeting, then be sure to download her 10×10 Book Club Kit to uniquely enhance your reading experience.
- Use 10×10’s biography and exclusive Q&A to learn about Maaza’s own isolated youth which fuels her “connect[ion] to the plight of children.” Read how Maaza channeled her own memories of her early past – filled with uncertainty, inexplicable violence, and constant fear – into this searing, award-winning novel.
- Find out how Maaza chose her 10×10 girl for her “big smile.”
- Have easy-to-use discussion questions on hand to deepen your dialogue about Maaza’s book.
- Find out more about Ethiopia – past and present – to add context to your discussion.
- Check out all the additional articles, videos, films, policy briefs, and more for further information.
- Make your next meeting a full-sensory Ethiopian evening by using the included recipes for some delicious doro wett and injera, while you groove to the specially selected music playlist.
One by one, our 10×10 writers will have their own club kits … and we will continue to announce them here as they become available. Our 10 writers are our best ambassadors to our 10 countries and our 10 girls. Join us for an enlightening global tour you won’t forget!
Go to the 10×10 Book Club by clicking here.
This morning I woke up feeling really thirsty. You know, that kind of thirst that makes it hard to swallow and your mouth feels all cotton-ball dry. I turned on my kitchen faucet and gulped down two big glasses of water before continuing with my morning routine: I washed my face, brushed my teeth, and took a shower. I then filled my water bottle, watered my plants, and made coffee. I used water to do all of those things.
I often take for granted such easy access to clean, safe, drinking water and forget what a pivotal role it plays in our day-to-day lives. Today, on World Water Day, we recognize that one’s access to clean water should not depend on where they live in the world; it is a basic human right.
According to water.org, 884 million people lack access to clean water around the world – that’s almost three times the population of the United States. But this reality has a particular impact on girls. In one day, women spend 200 million work hours collecting water for their families – this is the equivalent of building 28 empire state buildings every day. This laborious task, among other domestic chores, often falls on the shoulders of young girls. Every hour spent finding clean water, often walking miles and miles for one jug, is one less hour spent in school. Investment in drinking-water and sanitation would result in 272 million more school attendance days a year.
Besides the tragedy of being deprived of clean water, girls are often subjected to sexual violence when travelling long distances alone to fetch water. No access to water also means worse hygiene and sanitation. A lack of sanitation is the world’s number one cause of infection – 2.2 million people die each year from diseases associated with unsanitary conditions. When the task of cleaning bathroom facilities falls on women, they are often the ones getting infected or exposed to such illness.
Even if girls are afforded the opportunity to attend school instead of staying home to fetch water for their families, they are subjected to unbearable conditions. Charity:Water tells the story of one young girl in Bangladesh who would leave school to walk nearly a mile home – just to use the bathroom. Another problem presents itself when girls are experiencing menstruation but do not have separate bathroom facilities – if any facilities at all. Most opt out of school on those days due to shame and discomfort. A survey in Tanzania found that school attendance increased by 12 per cent for girls in homes located 15 minutes or less from a water source than in homes one hour or more away. Attendance rates for boys did not seem to be affected by distance from water sources.
So on this year’s World Water Day, when I pour myself a nice big glass of cool clean water, I recognize that it is not just quenching my thirst. Clean water has afforded me my health, my education, my dignity.
We are at day two of the Women in the World Summit and, to put it lightly, I am ‘geeking out’ over all of the incredible women who have gathered to discuss a wide range of issues. And yet after today’s panel on ‘changing the minds of men in Afghanistan,’ I find myself instead thinking of the world’s men and boys.
So, what about the boys?
When we speak about the lack of educational opportunities for girls around the world, who do we assume is standing in the way? A common answer would be, well, men. Whether it be political or cultural leaders perpetuating patriarchal customs or one girl’s father who decides she’s to be married off at ten years old rather than be sent to school like her brothers, it is all too often men who are making decisions for women and girls.
In most places around the world, it’s the men who hold the power in their families, communities, and nations. So it is crucial that they are part of the solution to end gender inequity. And approximately four out of five males worldwide will eventually become fathers. This means that four out of five men can play a pivotal role in their children’s education and future, which is particularly important in a cultural context where girls often have little to no access to educational opportunities. A father or village elder deciding to forgo an early marriage and instead send a girl to school can change the course of her life and set a precedent within the community. To realize gender equity, we must treat men as a critical part of the solution, rather than the constant problem.
We have even come across some of these extraordinary men ourselves, while filming for 10×10 in Ethiopia. Richard Robbins and Alex Dionne of our production team recount stories of a brother who ultimately put his life in danger to stop his father from marrying off his sister young. He demanded she be allowed to go to school like he does. Andamlak, a father in northern Ethiopia who nearly went through with an arranged marriage for his daughter, now meets with other parents in his community on the importance of girls’education.
So there you have it: anyone can change the world, so let’s get everyone – men and women, boys and girls – involved. Changing the minds of men and boys is going to be a critical part of our campaign, and for all those who wish to see gender equity in the world.
Do you know any extraordinary men? I challenge you all to share the 10×10 campaign with them. Spread the word, post on their Facebook walls, and tweet away! Tell them that they too have a role in making this world a more gender-equitable place.
10×10 is wheels down in Northern Ethiopia on our first official film production trip. It’s been exactly one year since we first visited Ethiopia to find a girl to represent her country in our film.
With the brilliant writing of Maaza Mengiste as our guide, we’re out to film the story of Azmera, a girl who at the age of just 13, stood up to tradition—and her own mother—and refused to be married off.
Director Richard Robbins checks in today from the road…literally:
As on our previous trips to Ethiopia, we’re grateful to be hosted by the good people of World Vision, a our NGO partner working hard in Ethiopia and around the world to educate girls. You can help World Vision make education a reality for girls like Azmera with a donation today.