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M. Arslan Manzoor

We are excited to introduce our regular SPARK JOURNAL. Thoughts, musings, opinion from our interns, participants and partners on our programs and advocacies. Read what our intern, Arslan – who hails from a predominantly Muslim society, Pakistan –  had to say about Girl Rising – ED

“A thousand rivers flowing with life. And us, adrift. No place in the soaking world for roots to hold. Everyone was crying, even my drawings… but I learned never to give up; because after the rain, there’s always sunshine” – Ruksana (India)

Girl Rising elegantly expresses the lives of 9 underprivileged girls from diverse parts of the world facing the worst of circumstances, where education for girls isn’t a priority. These girls tell the world that people even in the worst of conditions can soar to the highest peaks, that is get back up to stable positions in society. The film emphasizes on the importance of education and stresses how education can highly improve the living conditions of not only individuals but also future generations to come.

“If a warriors name was my father’s gift to me, a brave heart was his second. There is no hardship I can’t overcome” – Senna (Peru)

What makes Girl Rising unique is the way these accounts are depicted, perhaps like a painting on canvas, where you can absorb each stroke as the narrator paints along with each story progressing. And at the end, you can see the masterpiece, a beautiful strong girl who tackles the hardships the world throws at her. Perhaps this canvas is what makes you want so much to meet each girl, yearn to know more about her, and regain faith in humanity.

“Do not tell me the blame lies in my religion, in my traditions, in my culture…” – Amina (Afghanistan)

As a Pakistani, Muslim and someone who lives in a third world country, I was already aware of most of the issues faced by girls in today’s society. Most of them are not even because of the country, but wicked people misusing the norms and religions of their regions. I was aware that proper rights of girls are not given throughout many parts of the world, and that girls are raped, tortured and forced to do things against their will, like early marriages: leaving them no space to grow and become the women they deserve to be. I always found it very offensive when I heard others blaming my culture or my religion for the way people are being mistreated; when they say Islam is a “terrorist religion” or that Pakistani’s are terrorists. I was in the United states during 9/11 and moved to New York just a month after the attacks and it was difficult for me as an over-protected nine year old to comprehend the situation and live in a society that despised me for something that I had no relation to at all. Girl Rising, changes that, it shows the lives of Christians, Muslims, Buddhists and perhaps other religions too: our religions mold our beliefs, but do not define our character, and no one should have to suffer because of the beliefs he/she has. We’re all humans and we should all work collectively for a better world.

Girl rising ignores all statuses and titles and emphases on education as the key focus, as the narrator states: “Educated girls are a powerful force for change, and this kind of change, it happens fast.” Watching this film has made me not only grateful for what I have but has helped me regain hope in humankind. I firmly believe that there can be change, we just have to spread faith in others and help them with the push they need to become whatever they pursue.

“She knows this is no longer a simple story. She is now the author and it is her story to write. It is just the beginning.”

 

(Share your thoughts with us and the rest of the world. Write an article and submit to sparkphilippines2013@gmail.com. )

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