Girl Rising

Synopsis: The movie tells the stories of nine girls from different parts of the world who face arranged marriages, child slavery, and other heartbreaking injustices. Despite these obstacles, the brave girls offer hope and inspiration. By getting an education, they're able to break barriers and create change.
Director(s): Richard Robbins
Production: Gathr Films
  3 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
101 min

This is a simple story.

And it did not begin here.

This thing of beauty,

a joy forever rising.

This warm glow in darkness

like a harvest Moon.

A Khmer proverb whispers-

celebrate when the Moon is bright.

But for years she was

a child of the dump.

A place where smoke

blackened Sun and Moon.

And eyes seldom looked up from

the world of things tossed aside.

An orphan discarded, learning

lessons no school would teach.

Hunting the rot for glints of light,

metal containers, silver spoons.

Listening for the sound a prong

makes when it finds a plastic bottle.

Careful not to step on used syringes,

rusty nails or broken glass.

In daydreams she pictured freshly

sharpened pencils, rows of desks,

the chant of the alphabet.

Wandering visions to

pass long empty days

in a place where a girl is simply one

more thing the world has thrown away.

And when they found her,

when this girl's dreams came through

she had not dreamt of gold,

she had not wished for beauty.

Hers was a simple dream.

The bright white shirt

of a school uniform.

The crisp pleats of a skirt.

Shelves full of books.

A dream of school,

and how she dances behind

a contented smile

because she knows this is

no longer a simple story.

Now this is her story to write.

She is the author and this is not

the end, it is just a beginning.

This is Wadley.

She's 8 years old.

She plays herself on the story from

her own life that you're about to see.

Just like Sokha did.

And just like the other girls you will meet.





And Ruksana.

Two others who we'll

call Yasmin and Amina

could not appear on their stories

out of concern for their safety.

Each of these girls was paired with

a writer from her own country

to help tell her story.

These are true stories.

If sometimes we imagined

to capture the things

these girls and these writers

wanted to see.

And their stories are important.

Because these girls hold

our future in their hands.

If they and the millions

of girls like them succeed

in getting the kind of education they need

incredible things will happen.

For them, for their families,

for their community, for their country.

For all of us.

Here's the hard thruth:

In spite of the fact that educating a girl

is one of the highest return investments

available in the developing world

millions of girls just aren't making it.

Right now there are 66 million

girls out of school.

And many more who struggle every day

to simply remain where they belong.

In a classroom.



The morning of January 12th 2010.

was bright and beautiful,

In a way that Wadley could not remember

any other morning ever having been before.

It was the dry season when

wild flowers bloomed

and flowers that bloomed on their own

without rain

fascinated some little girls.

It made impossible things seem possible.

Unachievable things appeared doable.

And the flowers, the hibiscus,

the azaleas, the bougainvilleas,

they all looked even brighter

when Wadley was happy.

Wadley! Wake up.

You're going to be late for school.

That morning Wadley was

working to memorize

Toussaint L'Ouverture's final speech

as he was removed

by Haiti by the French,

after he tried to win independence

for the country.

Wadley liked to imagine herself defiant,

like brave Toussaint L'Ouverture.

But she also wished she'd be given

some words by women to recite.

Brave and strong women

like her mother.

Wadley, one snack is enough!

Every day Wadley brought two snacks

from her mother's tray.

One for herself and one for another child.

That day she chose a

new friend, Shelda.

A girl whose father had

been killed the week before.

He was a taxi driver and someone

had gotten into his car

with a gun and asked him to

get out.

He had refused and the

person had shot him.

Soon the moment came for Wadley

and her classmates to recite

big words from the history lesson.

Wadley watched some of her friends

recited or failed to recite.

The stammers, stutters and hesitations

seemed to her like a long poem.

A love poem to history.


"In overthrowing me

you have cut down

in Saint Domingue

only the trunk of the tree of liberty.

It will spring up again from the roots,

for they are many and they are deep."

That afternoon all

Wadley could think was...

It was the dry season when

wild flowers bloomed.

And these words seemed a perfect

beginning for her composition

and a fitting book end to her day.

For they seemed to emerge

somehow out of the dream

that she had been having that morning.

Wadley could not remember how she

and her mother got to the open field

near the University.

It was still the dry season but wild

flowers no longer bloomed.

In the tent camp she often heard the

most days that the adults say:

"Ashes to ashes, dust to dust."

This they said when

they were finally resigned

to the fact that their missing loved ones

would never be coming back.

Life tried to return to normal,

except now her mother roamed

the city during the day

looking for friends and family

for whom to seek help.

And instead of school

Wadley went to the water

fountain with a bucket.

Every day now, as she passed

through the camp

and the ruins of her neigborhood

she tought about school.

Sometimes as she walked by

the rubble of the school itself

she tought she heard

the voices of her friends

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Marie Arana

Marie Arana (born Lima, Peru) is an author, editor, journalist, literary critic, and member of the Scholars Council at the Library of Congress. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Girl Rising" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 17 Jun 2024. <>.

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