Girl Rising

Canyon Del Oro High School students Noelle Smith, left, and Cassandra Lim organized the screening of Girl Rising, a film that helps inform and raise money for women around the world to receive an education.

Randy Metcalf/The Explorer

Two Canyon Del Oro High School students enrolled in the International Baccalaureate Program took it upon themselves to inform the public and their peers about the inequality between genders throughout the world.

Their tool: the movie, “Girl Rising.”

The feature film is a campaign for the education of girls in countries where boys get to go to school for free and girls have to pay.  The film follows women in Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Peru, India, Ethiopia, Egypt, Nepal, Haiti, and Cambodia and tells a woman’s story from each country. Proceeds from the film go toward funding education for women.

CDO seniors Noelle Smith and Cassandra Lim made it their goal to sell enough tickets so the movie could be shown at the Foothills AMC Theater. With a minimum of 90 tickets needing to be sold, the girls exceeded it and sold nearly 200 tickets for the showing last week.

The two had only seen the trailer to the movie and were surprised that during the course of a few months from start to finish, they were able to raise enough money to show the movie.

“We’re just normal high school teenagers,” Lim said.

“It was a really big project and required so much effort,” Smith said. “For the longest time, we couldn’t even sell [the initial] 90 tickets.”

In early September, the two began contacting the organization to see what it would take to get a local viewing and how much money it would take to have it shown in a local movie theater. 

The two have taken a special interest in anthropology and have recently studied gender roles and how they differ around the world. Smith has been studying how Sept. 11, 2001 influenced gender rolls within the military and Lim is looking into the controversies around female genital mutilation. 

After months of work, the duo was able to see the movie last week along with the people who purchased tickets for $10. Walking away from the film and the message it gave Smith and Lim and the other viewers,  a new outlook on the opportunities they have been given.

“You hear students every day complaining about homework, or being tired, or not wanting to be at school,” Lim said. “I think that we all have to learn to appreciate what we have been given. We will never understand what they’re going through, because we have never actually experienced it. But I feel that we shouldn’t waste what has been given to us.”

Smith echoed her thoughts.

“It makes you feel really privileged. It makes you appreciate what you have. In the United States, we have the right to vote, women have an equal say, domestic violence will be punished, and any form of crime against a woman will be punished. We can go to school so easily. We have a free education.

“Seeing girls around the world not having what we have just makes you want to fight harder for them.”

The two were very happy they were able to show the film to so many people and were able to spread the word about what is happening across the globe, while raising money for the cause as a portion of the tickets went to helping girls receive a quality education.

The two plan to continue to fundraise for Girl Rising and, if there is enough interest in the future, they might put together another showing on a different topic.

To donate to “Girl Rising”, visit To donate by mail, send checks to the Tides Foundation, Memo: 10x10 Fund, P.O. Box 29903, San Francisco, CA, 94129-0903. Make checks payable to Tides Foundation. 

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