‘Girl Rising’ documentary showcases global benefits in education of girls

By Maria Saporta

It’s become a mantra — educate women and girls, and you can change the world.

That is the theme of a relatively new documentary —Girl Rising — directed by Academy Award nominee Richard Robbins about nine girls from nine countries in their quest to transform their lives by getting an education.

A special showing of the film was held Monday evening at the Landmark Midtown Cinema with one of its key partners — Atlanta-based CARE USA.

A shorter film by Rhett Turner, son of Ted Turner, also was presented that recounted the story of three girls who have been helped by CARE’s efforts around the world.

Among international human services organizations, it’s become evident that the way to have the greatest impact on global poverty is to focus on women and girls.

For Martha Adams, senior producer of Girl Rising, the message is even clearer.

A few years ago, there was an epiphany among organizations like CARE. Educating girls could be the single most important thing a country could do to drive its economic progress, Adams said during a panel discussion after the showing of the documentary.

“There’s great progress being made,” said Adams, highlighting CARE’s work in Peru. “These are game changers — a girl with a pencil and a book.”

Lisa Borders, former president of the Atlanta City Council who has just started her new role as vice president of Global Community Connections for the Coca-Cola Co., said the film made her feel sad and hopeful at the same time.

“I was struck by the human spirit of these women,” Borders said during the panel discussion, adding that she has probably taken her own opportunity to get an education for granted. “We have a lot of work to do.”

Helene Gayle, president and CEO of CARE USA, said that Girl Rising  is a “call to action” for more people to become involved and donate to efforts that improve the lives of women and girls in some of the poorest parts of the world.

“I would like to build an even broader constituency of groups in Atlanta that can address global poverty,” Gayle said.

For more information about Girl Rising, visit www.girlrising.com. The site offers ways for people to host showings of the documentary in their communities.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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