“Girl Rising,” a full-length feature film hosted by Intel at Desert Vista High School in Ahwatukee Foothills opened students’ eyes to the impact of educating girls in developing countries and reinforced their studies in the classroom.
Advanced Placement Human Geography students gathered in DV’s auditorium on April 16 at 7 p.m. to watch a film that showed nine girls’ stories and their dreams of becoming students.
“I had the opportunity to represent Intel in Kenya last May to teach technology to girls in Maasai Mara,” said Mia J. Erickson, a senior administrative assistant at Intel. “I saw first-hand the profound impact education can have on girls.”
Intel selected “Girls Education and Women’s Empowerment” to address the tens of millions of girls around the world who have limited or no access to education, according to Renee E. Levin, community engagement manager at Intel Corporation.
Linda Rodish, AP human geography teacher at Desert Vista High School, teaches her students a gender empowerment section in her class as part of the school’s curriculum.
“We did studies where we look at data sets and we look at what happens to a country when it educates more women,” Rodish said. “In doing this, it really inspires students because they can see the advantages that they have living here, especially in Ahwatukee.”
The film is part of Intel’s global social action campaign that aims to raise awareness and action, and inspire people to join the campaign for girls’ education.
“It reveals the extraordinary stories of girls who are tackling the reality of socio-economic roadblocks and sometimes impossible odds on the road to education,” Levin said.
Rodish said that her students can make a difference in gender empowerment and girl’s education just by making small steps and raising awareness in Ahwatukee.
“By actually going out and doing something, they can make a difference even at a small step if that’s it,” Rodish said.
In class, students are learning how gender empowerment helps a country become financially stable, productive and full of opportunities for girls.
“We’ve learned that when girls are more educated, they tend to have higher incomes and that’s a level of development that shows how well off a country is,” said Hannah Fuchs, a Desert Vista High School student.
This year, students have watched other films that raise awareness about the oppression of girls worldwide and the importance of providing education.
“We watched another movie called, ‘Half the Sky,’ which was in my opinion more depressing, but ‘Girl Rising’ was much more uplifting and inspiring,” Fuchs said.
Intel wants local students to recognize their responsibility to raise awareness about educating girls and to recognize their advantages as students.
“I’d love to see our students become more ‘socially aware’ and begin utilizing social media and technology to ‘Ignite a Movement’ around the issue,” Erickson said.
• Angela Crusco is a junior at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. She is interning this semester for the AFN.