NEW YORK, 22 June 2011 – A powerful and moving film supported by UNICEF and the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI) on the struggles girls face daily to get an education in the developing world, will air for the very first time on Link TV’s broadcast network on Friday, 24 June at 7 p.m. EDT.
Ten years after world leaders pledged to provide equal access to all girls and boys by 2015, filmmakers Frederick Rendina and Oren Rudavsky set out to answer the question, “What does it take to educate a girl?” amidst poverty and conflict in much of the developing world.
“To Educate a Girl” is a character-driven documentary that spotlights the stories of Manisha, a teenager in Nepal, who works in the fields to allow her three younger sisters the opportunity to go to school. Her story is contrasted by three young Nepalese listeners of a hugely popular youth-oriented radio program that has helped them deal with issues of early marriage and poverty in order to stay in school. In Uganda, Mercy, a six-year-old from an impoverished home, is about to embark on her first day of school, while Sarah, a teenage war orphan struggles against great odds to keep up with her studies.
By the end of the film, it becomes abundantly clear that the stories of Manisha and Mercy can be the untold stories of thousands – if not millions – of other girls who struggle daily to have an opportunity to learn and make a better life for themselves and their families.
“To Educate a Girl”, premiered online today on ViewChange.org, the global development platform operated by independent broadcaster Link TV; it will premiere on Link TV’s broadcast network on Friday, 24 June (7 p.m. EDT) and again on Tuesday, 28 June (11 p.m. EDT) on DIRECTV Channel 375 and Dish Network Channel 9410. (For future broadcast dates, please see LinkTV.org’s To Educate a Girl program page.)
The film’s score features work from well-known world music artists, including songs by Zap Mama; original music by Anthony Tidd, producer for artists including Black-Eyed Peas, the Roots, Baaba Maal, Zap Mama and Somi.
Latest estimates show that more than half of the 67 million children of primary-school-age who are out of school around the world are girls. Growing evidence points to girls’ education as a key means of promoting equity and improving productivity in the developing world.
“It’s the untold story of how to move millions of people from poverty – it’s the secret weapon that can help defeat diseases like HIV. It’s educating girls,” says Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah, in her introduction to the documentary.
About UNICEF UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org
About UNGEI The United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI) is a partnership of organizations committed to narrowing the gender gap in primary and secondary education. It also seeks to ensure that, by 2015, all children complete primary schooling, with girls and boys having equal access to free, quality education. UNGEI was launched in April 2000 at the World Education Forum in Dakar, Senegal, by then United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan in response to a troubling reality: Of the millions of children worldwide who were not in school, more than half were girls – a reality that continues today. Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan accepted the position of Honorary Global Chair of UNGEI in July 2009. For more information on UNGEI visit: www.ungei.org
About Link TV and Link Media Link Media uses media and the power of stories to engage, inform and inspire its audiences to participate in transformational, sustainable change on issues of global importance. Founded in 1999, Link Media operates the Link TV national network and the websites LinkTV.org and ViewChange.org. An independent and non-commercial media company, Link Media acquires, produces and delivers global news, documentaries and cultural programming over three distribution channels: broadcast, web and handheld devices. Link Media presents diverse perspectives on critical global issues that are underserved by conventional media, and gives voice to points of view that would otherwise go unheard.
About the filmmakers
Frederick Rendina - Producer/Director Prior to collaborating on To Educate a Girl, Frederick Rendina produced and directed for A&E, the Biography Channel, the Travel Channel, PBS’s Wide Angle series and National Geographic On Assignment, and while based in Dakar, Senegal, field-produced for Associated Press Television News. His documentary and narrative films have also appeared on PBS, RAI-TV-Italy and NHK-TV Japan. Films include: Turning the Tide: Tsunami Volunteers, Let Good the Good Times Roll Again, Utopia, A Gang for Good, After the Gun, Kabi and Secrets of the Soul. Among others, Rendina has received the following Grants and Awards: National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, Tony Cox Screenwriting Award, Panavision New Filmmaker, Experimental Television Center, Audience Award, Independent Images Award, Bronze Apple Award.
Oren Rudavsky - Producer/Director Oren Rudavsky is the recent recipient of a production grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for The Zionist Idea. He is the producer of media for the Russian Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center being built in Moscow. Rudavsky just finished producing a series of documentaries for the Bloomberg television series, Risk Takers. In 2009 he was Producer/Writer of the two part series Time for School 3, for the PBS series Wide Angle. He was the recipient in 2008 of a Guggenheim Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts filmmaker awards, three National Endowment for the Humanities grants, several New York State Council for the Arts awards, and many others. His film A Life Apart: Hasidism in America was short-listed for the Academy Awards and his film Hiding and Seeking was nominated for an Independent Spirit award. He completed his first fiction feature as Producer/Writer/Director on The Treatment in 2006. The film premiered at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival and was awarded Best Film, Made in New York.
For more information or interviews, please contact: Shimali Senanayake, UNICEF Media, New York, Tel + 1 917 265 4516, firstname.lastname@example.org