‘Girl Up’ empowerment April 6

Members of the local Girl Up club are, back, from left, Rainie Codding, Hannah Ziegenhagen, and Lindy Taylor. Front, from left, Giselle Ortega, Catie Schuster, Augustina Decker and Lucy Booth. Not pictured, Maisie Bandell-Ramirez and Lily Dupuis

A movie about empowering girls is set for a screening Saturday, April 6 at 7 p.m. at St. Mary’s Academy. There is a $5 suggested donation.

The movie, “Girl Rising,” is being screened by a local girls’ club called Girl Up.

Lucy Booth, 14, an eighth grader at St. Mary’s Academy, started the local club, and it is one of some 1,200 such clubs in 66 countries. The “Girl Up” campaign is a United Nations Foundation effort “that works globally to unite and empower girls,” Booth said. The campaign started about 10 years ago.

“The movie is a collection of nine different stories about girls all over the world working to get an education and what that takes; the challenge they’re facing,” Booth said.

The clubs fundraise for girls in developing countries as well as working to pass legislation in the U.S. Proceeds from the movie will go to help girls in Liberia, Malawi, Guatemala, India and Ethiopia.

The club also went to Portland to see Chimananda Ngozi Adichie, a Nigerian author and big advocate for education in Africa. Club members are Rainie Codding, Hannah Ziegenhagen, Lindy Taylor, Giselle Ortega, Catie Schuster, Augustina Decker, Maisie Bandell-Ramirez and Lily Dupuis.

Booth went to the national summit in Washington, D.C. last summer, and it featured two days of speakers and workshops followed by a third day of lobbying on Capitol Hill for a bill titled The Girls Access to Education in Vulnerable Settings Act, which was signed by President Trump a few months ago.

“It helps put girls’ education as a priority when the United States is sending aid for refugee camps,” Booth said.

The summit was an inspiration. “It was really cool. There were so many girls around you who were so inspired and empowered to make a difference. I met girls from all over the world,” she said.

Booth, who is considering becoming a journalist or lawyer when she grows up, started her club at the beginning of the school year. They’ve done some volunteer work since then. She said providing education was her inspiration. “I feel lucky to get an education and be able to do whatever I want at this point. That’s why its important to me to give girls in other countries that opportunity too.”

She said 62 million school-age girls around the world are not in school. Girl Up also focuses on providing access to health care and keeping them safe from traditional practices of violence and domestic violence.

Last year Girl Up fundraised to buy bikes for girls in Malawi and Guatemala so they could have an opportunity to get to school.

Hood River also has a Girl Up group, and it set a global fundraising record last school year, Booth said.

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