Girl Rising at Platinum Cineplex Phnom Penh

An internationally-acclaimed documentary that features a Cambodian girls’ story is set be screened again to highlight the importance of education for girls in Cambodia.

Having proved a hit since Girl Rising made its Cambodian premier at Platinum Cineplex on Oct. 11 – International Day of the Girl Child – the cinema will host a repeat showing of the Hollywood documentary on Nov. 5.

Filmed with the backing of UNESCO, Girl Rising tells the stories of nine girls in nine different countries. One girl featured in the film is Sokha from Cambodia. Sokha was a Cambodian child from the dumps.

Orphaned and forced to pick through garbage to survive. But, through a series of miracles, Sokha finds her way to school. She has risen to become a star student on the brink of a brilliant and once unimaginable future.

The stories are narrated by famous actresses, including Cate Blanchett, Meryl Streep, Selma Hayek and Cambodian writer Loung Un. The documentary is directed by 2011 Academy Award nominee, Richard Robbins.

The Global Campaign for Education and its members —UNESCO, Plan International, NGO Education Partnership, VSO and Aide et Action — hope the film will stimulate the debate of the importance of education for girls.

Despite primary enrolment figures for girls improving in Cambodia over the last few years, many girls drop out when it comes to secondary education. Across the world, girls face barriers when it comes to accessing quality education, which is crucial to a country’s development in terms of economic growth, reduction of domestic violence and improvement of health.

Chen Sokha says, “Learning is a treasure. Don’t ever give up your studies. Help yourself first then you will be able to help others. My wish, my hope for all young women and girls who live in difficult and unbearable circumstances is that they will find courage through my story and to never lose hope for their future.”

Anne Lemaistre,  UNESCO representative in Cambodia, adds, “New UNESCO data shows there is proof that investing in education, especially for girls, alleviates extreme poverty through securing substantial benefits for health and productivity, as well as democratic participation and women’s empowerment. This new evidence should give us renewed energy to complete what we set out to accomplish.”

Girl Rising, which is in English with Khmer subtitles, can be seen at Platinum Cineplex on Tuesday, Nov. 5 at 6.30pm.