Timed to International Day of the Girl (October 11), global education nonprofit Room to Read launched the official trailer for its animation and live-action film series She Creates Change. The six-episode project aims to reach the 432 million adolescent girls (ages 12-18) in the world with content and educational curriculum that supports them in creating change in their lives and communities.
“Every girl around the world woke up today with the same need. She had to utilize skills like resilience, self- confidence and critical thinking to overcome challenges — for herself, her family or her community,” says Dr. Geetha Murali, CEO of Room to Read. “To achieve a world free from gender inequality, girls must develop these important skills and have access to role models that make perseverance possible. She Creates Change is Room to Read’s solution to accelerating equality for every girl in the world by spotlighting role models who demonstrate their use of key skills to accomplish positive change. Inspired by the stories presented in She Creates Change, I know young women everywhere will activate their abilities to be changemakers and make informed choices to shape their futures.”
She Creates Change comprises a series of six animated shorts with accompanying live-action mini-documentaries that tell the stories of six courageous young women from historically low-income communities in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Vietnam. Each girl confronts challenges unique to her life — such as harassment, food scarcity or early marriage — and uses particular life skills to advocate for herself. Stories address topics including climate justice, financial literacy, discrimination, menstruation and sexual harassment.
To produce the film series, Nexus Studios — winner of the Academy Award, BAFTA, Cannes Grand Prix and the Grammy — curated a team of diverse women directors and artists from around the world with distinct visual styles, including Oscar nominee Siqi Song (Sister), Hannah Lau-Walker (Yeah, I’m good thanks.), Bonnie Forsyth (Femme Enfant), Claudia Chinyere Akole (Chinyere Comic), Neeraja Raj (Meow or Never) and Prashanti Aswani (Machi).
Emmy-winner Martha Adams, whose pasts projects include Girl Rising and We Will Rise: Michelle Obama’s Mission to Educate Girls around the World, serves as series director and producer for the project. Executive producers are Brenda Chapman, the first woman to win an Oscar for best animated film (Brave), and veteran screenwriter and director Jill Culton (Abominable), recipient of Animation Magazine‘s Game Changer award for being the first woman to solo write and direct an original animated theatrical feature.
“For too long, the stories we have seen and heard through global media have not represented the voices of so many young women in the world,” Adams asserts. “The practice of sharing stories by women, about women and for women is an undeniably powerful way to help girls advocate for themselves and their rights. It is an honor for me to help share the diverse stories featured in She Creates Change. Though each girl’s individual circumstances may be unique, the courage and skills demonstrated are universal and exemplify how the rising generation of girls can use their voices to change their circumstances and societies.”
London’s first Young Poet Laureate Warsan Shire, whose poetry was adapted for Beyonce’s Lemonade, crafted the screenplays. Rebel Girls, a global multi-media girl empowerment brand, is a strategic partner on the campaign and has produced books and audio stories that complement the film series.
The episodes feature voice overs by a roster of talent including Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire), Charithra Chandran (Bridgerton), YouTube sensation Prajakta Koli (MostlySane), Dilshad Vadsaria (Greek), Adhir Kalyan (Rules of Engagement), Amita Suman (Shadow and Bone), Amrita Acharia (Game of Thrones) and Quyen Ngo (American Preprequisite).
“The path to a gender-equal world is being paved by Room to Read. Through its programs and ground-breaking content including She Creates Change, Room to Read demonstrates exactly what can — and does — happen when young women are supported to learn and imagine their own futures,” Pinto says. “She Creates Change is a poignant call to action for us all to increase our investment in girls’ education.”
Kenyan R&B pop singer Karun (Karungari Mungai) performs the original She Creates Change campaign song “Who Am I?” written by Warsan Shire and composed by Lucie Treacher.
The non-profit film project will be available in dozens of language — starting with English, Spanish and Hindi — and distributed throughout the world, through Room to Read programs and in partnership with community organizations and governments. Curriculum packages that align with the stories presented, based on Room to Read’s comprehensive seven-year Girls’ Education Program curriculum, will be provided online, through broadcast media and in-person programming.
Learn more about Room to Read at roomtoread.org.