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Out of the Field and into the Classroom: Educating Girls in the Developing World
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Out of the Field and into the Classroom: Educating Girls in the Developing World
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Since 2000, Room to Read has supported 10,000 girls across eight countries in Asia and Africa with an education through secondary school. The multiplier effect of this education will impact not only these girls but also their families and communities for generations to come. This is just one story among thousands.

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Produced by James Connolly.

Learn more about Room to Read.

Originally featured in the ViewChange Online Film Contest.

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Segment 1

TITLE
Since 2000, Room to Read has supported 10,000 girls across eight countries in Asia and Africa with an education through secondary school.
TITLE
The multiplier effect of this education will impact not only these girls, but their families and communities for generations to come.
TITLE
This is just one story among thousands.
SUNISHA AHUJA [Country Director India, Room to Read]
Girls form half of the population of this world, and not investing in the lives of half of our populations would be, I think, the crime of the highest order. The program that we started in India in 2004 was a girls' education program, through which we started to target girls who were young adolescent girls and had never been to school. This program started in Rajasthan, where life is tough, very few resources available, everybody has to work to make a living, everybody has to come together. Whether it's to go and fetch water, to get firewood, take care of the younger siblings in the house, girls actually have been playing a very important role as housekeepers, taking care of their own families. And that's kept them away from school.
NOOR MOHAMMED [Honorary Secretary, AMIED]
In August 2006, we started a collaboration with Room to Read. It is the first and only funder that is providing long-term support for girls' education.
SUNISHA AHUJA
Noor Mohammed came and told me the story of this village from where he belonged, himself. This is a village which is at about 100 kilometers, and a little more, from Delhi. It's called Mirzapur. It was so close to the power corridors of this country. Not one girl had gone on to complete primary school education. And I was like, where am I? Hundred kilometers away from where all policies are made for this country, we're talking about making education a fundamental right, and we've not been able to reach out to these girls? This is a conservative Muslim community. We've had a meeting with the village elders, and we started to discuss why these girls were not coming to school.
WALI MOHAMMED [Mirzapur Community Leader]
Since there was only one teacher for 250 students, and only 12 to 15 students would attend school, we thought it didn't make sense to send our children to school when they could be working in the fields, taking our herds to graze. This was more useful economically for us.
SUNISHA AHUJA
He brought these young educated women from Alwar city who are Hindu girls.
POOJA GUPTA [Mirzapur Teacher]
When children respond to the way that I teach, it gives me a great thrill and makes me happy.
SUNISHA AHUJA
The community and the village actually coming up to give their support to these young Hindu girls in saying, we will take responsibility for your safety, for you to stay in our village, because you want to come and teach our girls.
WALI MOHAMMED
There has been a clear difference in our children since Room to Read came.
SHABNAN [Girls' Educational Program Scholar, Class 8]
Because my mother and father are illiterate they wouldn't allow me to go to school. I pleaded with my parents to go to school. I told them, you are illiterate. Why should I have to be? Then they agreed to send me to school.
SUNISHA AHUJA
Today, what's happening there is a small revolution.
RAJBAL [Girls' Educational Program Scholar, Class 9]
I'm the only girl who has passed grade eight among eight villages with a population of 8,000 people. I'm happy that I'm going to school, but I want others to go as well, because I can't go alone.
SUNISHA AHUJA
There are probably several other villages like Mirzapur in Alwar, and the need is to actually reach out to all of those other villages, have the school further upgraded to become a secondary school, because we'd really like to see these girls go on to complete their education up to grade 12.
GUYANA [Pupil]
Girls also want to become something in life.
TITLE
Currently, 575 children are attending school in Mirzapur, and 275 of them are girls.
TITLE
The village of Mirzapur is now touted as a model in community-based education, and with the recognition it is receiving, more communities are trying to follow their lead of educational change, especially for girls.