Spring 2014 Magazine - Immaculata University - page 35

To celebrate Women’s History Month this March, Immaculata
students heard the story of Wadley, a Haitian girl who was unde-
terred when her school was destroyed in the 2010 earthquake, and
her parents had no money to send her to another local school. She
went anyway and declared that she would keep coming back even if
the teacher turned her away.
Students listened to the story of Ruksana, an Indian girl whose
family chooses to live in a makeshift house on the streets of Calcutta
in order to afford an education for their daughters. Although her
parents struggle to pay for basic necessities, they bought Ruksana art
supplies and encouraged her to develop her imaginative way of seeing
and depicting the world.
Students heard about Azmera, an Ethiopian girl who surprised
her family by refusing to get married at 13 and choosing to pursue
her education. Her brother supported her in her choice, even though
it meant that she would have less time for chores at home, and her
family wouldn’t receive a substantial gift from her future husband’s
family in exchange for marrying her off.
The documentary film
Girl Rising
told these and other stories
about the power of education to change the future for girls in the
developing world, for their families, their communities and entire
nations. While exploring possible solutions to global poverty, the
filmmakers discovered that educating girls is one of the best hopes for
increasing the wealth and well-being of communities. Educated girls
are able to earn more as adults, are less likely to be victims of domestic
violence, and are more likely to educate their children and pass greater
opportunity on to them.
“Our job was to find the stories behind the statistics and
bring them to life using every tool imaginable - so that you
could truly experience these girls…their lives, their dreams,
and the uncertainties they inhabit,” said the filmmakers. They
asked prize-winning authors from the girls’ home countries to
get to know the girls and write their remarkable stories. These
stories are told with gorgeous cinematography and skilled nar-
rators such as Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Salma Hayek,
Alicia Keys, and Meryl Streep.
From its inception, Immaculata has had a strong com-
mitment to educating women, so Bridget Haines-Frank ’96,
assistant dean of students, was glad to show the film at an
institution with this historical background. At a time when
women had fewer opportunities, the IHM Sisters believed
in education for women—for those who entered a religious
order, for those who remained single, and for those who chose
marriage and family life. A college degree, the Sisters believed,
could benefit women with any vocation, helping them to grow
in character and intellect, and to make a better contribution to
their communities.
To Immaculata’s alumnae, to the female students around
the world fighting for an education, and to the women role
models who made it possible for them…you go, girls!
Photo by “Dyu D’Cunha,” provided by GIRL RISING © 2014
Photo by “Gina Nemirofsky,” provided by GIRL RISING © 2014
Learn more about
Girl Rising
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