by Jill Iscol
There has never been a better time to be a woman. Women are making progress on all fronts, even in the most remote corners of the world, moving toward equality of opportunity with men, with all that implies.
Over the past year, Hearts on Fire has joined forces with Skype in the Classroomto light a spark and inspire the next generation of global citizens by connecting social change rock stars with students around the globe. This exciting and rewarding collaboration enables teachers to find a speaker on the Hearts on Fire Visionary page that will ignite their students and change their perception about the impact one person can have on the world.
This month, in partnership with Hearts on Fire, Girl Rising, a global campaign for girls’ education, launched its profile on Skype in the Classroom to bring students the inspiring stories of girls rising above poverty and despair.
Girl Rising uses the power of film to spread the message that educating girls can transform societies. According to Girl Rising, more than 60 million girls worldwide currently have little or no access to education. The Girl Rising film tells the stories of 9 ordinary girls who are accomplishing extraordinary things.
Among them are Suma, from Nepal, who spent her childhood in slavery and now campaigns against it; Senna, from Peru, who somehow finds poetry amid unimaginable squalor; and Ruksana who lives with her family on the streets of Kolkata, India, but escapes into the colorful world of her imagination and her art.
Thanks to Skype in the Classroom, their moving stories are now broadening the horizons of students across the country. Just this month, Girl Rising participated in Skype sessions with students in Iowa, Illinois, New York and Ontario, Canada.
Skype in the Classroom is one sure path toward that goal of achieving gender parity. It opens a window on the world for students all over the globe, allowing girls, especially, a chance to see possibilities for themselves that they might never have imagined.
Without leaving their own backyards, students are transported into other worlds. They learn how child marriage, domestic slavery, gender-based violence, poverty and tradition stand between girls and their education. But they also discover what happens when girls DO go to school, how they marry later and have fewer and healthier children, how they will earn more and stand up for their rights, how they will educate their own children and how their success will ultimately make their families and communities more prosperous and secure.
This International Women’s Day, Skype in the Classroom, Hearts on Fire and Girl Rising are proud to be part of a growing movement that is changing the way the world looks at girls, and the way girls see the world and their place in it.
- Full Girl Rising film
- The three stories from the film mentioned above and a multi-disciplinary curriculum designed for students from upper elementary through high school
- E-book: Hearts on Fire: Stories of Today’s Visionaries Igniting Idealism into Action by Jill Iscol which features the personal stories of 14 inspired and inspiring visionaries, along with a Teacher’s Guide to Create Global Citizens
- Hearts on Fire’s Be the Spark online platform which encourages young people to discover ways to spark change in their world
For more International Women’s Day inspiration, check out our page on the Microsoft Educator Community. If you have a call with a guest speaker for International Women’s Day, we’d love to see your classroom’s experience! Just tag us @SkypeClassroom and #Skype2learn on Twitter.