by Mom Chantara Soleil
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Ten years ago, fears, huger and loneliness constantly and deeply trapped Sokha, a little girl whose life entirely depended on the dump sites at the suburb of Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia.
But at the premiere screening of pro-girl film documentary Girl Rising in heart of the country this week, Sokha who turned 19 last month, was the strengths and courage for girls’ education through her inspiring life story featured in the documentary along with other eight girls from different countries.
“My parents passed away since I was around 6, leaving behind the 11 children, including myself. At the dump site, when I saw children with school uniform going to school, I was so sad and sometimes cried, hopelessly,” Sokha addressed to more than 100 representatives from government bodies, students, journalists, non-governmental organisations, embassies and UN agencies who attended the screening.
Sokha has found light in the darkness of her life and is rising, thanks to her sponsors. She is given schooling opportunities and now an outstanding 10th year student at a leading international school in Cambodia. Her representation of Cambodia in Girl Rising allowed Sokha to meet and learn from world’s well known leaders – more inspiration for her to keep on.
She confidently added, “I want all girls to have opportunities like me. All of us cannot survive without friendship and mutual help. I wish to become a social worker so that I can support others at least with what I can.”
Directed by Academy Award nominee Richard E. Robbins and presented by the 10×10 campaign for Girls Education, Intel and CNN Films, Girl Rising tells the story of nine inspiring girls in nine countries and illustrates the impact that girls’ education has on a community, a country, and the world.
Girl Rising fits in well with Plan’s Because I am a Girl (BIAAG) campaign delivered in cooperation with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. With the belief that girls are untapped resources for poverty reduction, the campaign is being implemented in 69 countries across the world to call for actions to equip girls with necessary knowledge and skills for a lasting growth.
“Globally, one in three girls around the world is denied an education by the daily realities of poverty, discrimination and violence. If adolescent girls stay in school and obtain real skills, they will earn more income in the future, marry later, and have fewer and healthier children,” said Mr. Verma Prashant, Plan Cambodia’s Programme Support Manager, adding that education also protects girls against HIV and AIDS, sexual harassment and human trafficking and educated girls are more resilient to disasters.
The screening of the ground breaking film in Phnom Penh was made possible by the partnership of Intel Corporation, Plan International Cambodia and A New Day Cambodia. Through the support from the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the media, it’s hoped the spirit of the film can be heard and acted upon by politicians campaigning for the country’s fifth national election late this month.
Mr. Russell Campbell, Regional Corporate Affairs Marketing Manager, Intel Corporation said, “We’ve seen the inspiring
transformation that happens to girls and their communities when they are empowered through education. When the lives of girls are transformed, so are the lives of everyone they touch.”