By Kiara Kunes, Staff Writer
// In Sub-Saharan Africa, 75% of girls start primary school, but only 8% finish secondary school.
If that fact was not chilling enough, here is another one: women make up nearly two thirds of the world’s illiterate adults.
In an effort to help combat the lack of opportunities for girls across the globe, the Acalanes Girl Up club hosted a screening on March 29 of the film Girl Rising in the Acalanes Performing Arts Center.
The film Girl Rising, from Academy Award-nominated director Richard Robbins, documents the challenges faced by nine girls from nine different counties as they fight to receive an education. Each story is told as an individual unit, and is narrated by actresses such as Kerry Washington, Meryl Streep and Selena Gomez.
“We see these issues. We learn about them, and we see the things girl have to go through. They are not just far away,” junior and Girl Up club President Olivia Towery said. “It shouldn’t be something that doesn’t affect us because on a global scale it does. We are all connected.”
The screening of Girl Rising raised about $1,400, according to Towery. All of the proceeds will be donated to Girl Up, an organization that works hand-in-hand with the United Nations to provide girls worldwide with an education.
The film also helped spread the idea that education has the ability to help end the cycle of poverty, prevent sexual abuse, and stop young girls from being forced into marriage.
“I think the purpose of the film was to tell the stories of girls who don’t have education like we do here. I think Lafayette is a really protected community. We don’t really learn about stories like these often,” freshmen Jenna Evaristo said after the screening.
2016 Acalanes graduate Alex Longerbeam had a similar take on the film.
“I thought [the film had] very inspiring stories. A lot of girls with a really strong will to find an education and prevailing against all odds against them,” Longerbeam said. “It shows us how easy it is to take for granted what we have here, and what a lot of girls have to go through to get something as basic as an education.”
Roughly 70 people attended the screening according to Towery. To help motivate attendance, the club raffled off two orchestra seats to Hamilton in San Francisco.Attendees could enter their name in this raffle if they made a donation of $10. Some students such as Evaristo were motivated by extra credit as well.
Prior to the event, the Girl Up club had to do a lot of preparing and publicizing. They included notifications about the event in the Acalanes High School parent newsletter, as well as the Stanley Middle School parent newsletter.
“[The girls in the club] helped through everything. They brainstormed ideas, got the raffle tickets, made posters, and came to set up. Katrina Lee organized the Pura Vida bracelet fundraiser we combined with [the event,]” Towey said.
Despite all of the publicizing the club did, Towery was originally worried the turnout would be small but she was pleasantly surprised.
“I was really happy with the turnout because it was a Wednesday night and I was a little worried that people would not come,” Towery said.
The club was very satisfied with how the screening went and hoped it created more awareness regarding this fundamental issue.