Education, health, empowerment.
That’s what Anne Wells of Darien, founder of Unite the World with Africa, wants to help girls in Tanzania achieve.
Darien locals will get a chance to participate in this movement supported by Unite, its youth groups, Global Girls and Global Guys Unite, and 10×10, by going to Darien Playhouse on Saturday, March 9.
The movie “Girl Rising” was created and provided by 10×10, an organization that uses the movie and “grassroots” campaigning to create global awareness about the lack of educated girls around the world, according to 10x10act.org.
Profits from the screening will go to two schools in Tanzania: The Mungere Secondary School, which serves “a rural community mostly Maasai [tribe] community,” and the Tumaini Junior School, according to Unite’s website.
Kiera Quinn, a freshman at Darien High School, brought the organization to Middlesex Middle School and now the high school with the help of her mother Simone, Unite’s youth programs director. Her mother and Wells were friends, but she fell in love with Unite’s mission.
“It spoke to me,” she said.
Unite’s student groups at Middlesex Middle School and Darien High School have supported multiple projects in Tanzania since 2009, including fundraising for the Tumaini school, purchasing bednets for two villages in the Kilimanjaro District, sending 85 girls from the SEGA school to see the ocean for the first time, and raising money for supplies for a midwife training program, according to the website. The students are one third of Unite’s programs. The other two being the tours to Tanzania, and the Ashe collection, which sells jewelry and art created by Tanzanians people.
Kiera has incorporated her work with Global Girls with her independent project for her IDEA class, part of the gifted program, at Darien High School. She and Catherine, a girl in Tanzania, will share letters and photos about their daily lives through April of this year, which Kiera will present side-by-side at the end of the year, she said. Wells acts as her mentor. Kiera’s goal is not only to show what goes on in Africa, but to share the similarities and differences, she said. She will visit her new friend in Tanzania this summer.
To explain her inspiration, Kiera told a story about a girl trying to throw starfish back into the ocean, although more float onto the beach than she can get her hands on. Passersby first see this task as pointless but soon decide to help. The moral of the story is that “one person can start making a difference,” Kiera said.
Simone and Anne agree that the students make a big difference.
The “most extraordinary” thing about the youth groups is the commitment the students have, despite the fact that it can be challenging, Simone said. Although she sits in on meetings and writes summaries that she shares with other parents, Simone believes that the adults should be “silent partners,” she said.
“We want kids to drive and see how powerful they are,” she said. Her middle school-age son, Tiernan, started Global Guys, which is now the same size as the girls’ group, to her surprise, she said. The focus of the work is on empowerement, which she believes “unified the boys and girls in the group,” Simone said.
The students’ fundraising efforts have brought the community together for a cause. Their events have included bake sales and walk-a-thons, Simone said, where the donations have been overwhelming. When the students asked for baked goods for sales, they received a plethora and had to donate the leftovers to the Carver Center in Norwalk, she said.
Unite frequently supports projects in East Africa with the requirement that they have a positive impact on their communities, said Anne, its founder. This year the organization will support projects that create sustainability in Tanzania, she said. These include local beekeeping, candle making, soap making, and a chicken coop from which all of the profits benefit the locals. Ongoing work supports the Hadza people, the last hunter-gatherers in the area.
The Quinn and Crosby families of Darien are going to Tanzania this summer with Anne “to see fruition of their work,” she said.
“Girl Rising” is about nine girls from Cambodia, Sierra Leone, Haiti, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Peru, Egypt, Nepal, and India who overcome the obstacles they are born in to, told by authors from their native countries and narrated by award-winning actresses, according to 10×10’s website. The movie “showcases the strength of the human spirit and the power of education to change the world,” it says.
The movie will be shown on Saturday, March 9 at 10 a.m. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door.
To contact Yevgeniya Davydov use our contact form.