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Sarah Brown: Stories are powerful tools for life

updated 9:43 AM EDT, Mon June 17, 2013
To be born a girl in Afghanistan is often to be ushered into a life of servitude, where girls have very little worth and very dim futures. Amina is forced to marry at 12, to bear a child though still a child herself -- while her own brother is given her dowry money to buy a used car. But Amina, whose name was changed and story portrayed by an actress out of concern for her safety, has had enough, and she is fighting back. <!-- -->
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</br>CNN Films' "Girl Rising" tells the stories of Amina and other girls from around the world and how the power of education can change the world. Learn more about the girls' inspiring stories.<!-- -->
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</br><i>(From 10x10)</i>
To be born a girl in Afghanistan is often to be ushered into a life of servitude, where girls have very little worth and very dim futures. Amina is forced to marry at 12, to bear a child though still a child herself -- while her own brother is given her dowry money to buy a used car. But Amina, whose name was changed and story portrayed by an actress out of concern for her safety, has had enough, and she is fighting back.

CNN Films' "Girl Rising" tells the stories of Amina and other girls from around the world and how the power of education can change the world. Learn more about the girls' inspiring stories.

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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Sarah Brown writes an open letter to girls of the world

Editor's note: Sarah Brown is the executive chair of the Global Business Coalition for Education and is a founder of the digital mobilization initiative A World at School. She went to school in Tanzania and the United Kingdom. This open letter to the girls of the world is part of the "Girl Rising" project. CNN Films' "Girl Rising" documents extraordinary girls and the power of education to change the world.

(CNN) -- Dear Girls of the World,

My own schooling taught me that the opportunity to learn is a gift, and the guidance of a good teacher is life-changing. It is important as a girl to learn how to earn your own living, stand up for your own point of view and share your skills and experiences with others. As the great African proverb goes, you must lift as you climb.

Sarah Brown
Sarah Brown

In school, I learned that reading, writing and numeracy are powerful tools for life, but so too are stories: stories about our own histories and our culture; stories we can tell, draw, write and perform. How we see ourselves becomes who we are -- so we must see ourselves as tall and strong and kind, and connected to others.

Being safe is a prerequisite for learning. If girls are not safe when they walk to school, attend school and as they return home, everything is taken away. We must all fight for our sisters to be safe from violence of any kind, so that they are free to learn, grow and flourish.

Learning with and about boys is important -- we all live together in our world. Despite the heightened focus on girls, it's important not to forget to teach boys that their own learning and the learning of their sisters are equally valuable.

CNN Films' "Girl Rising" documents extraordinary girls and the power of education to change the world. CNN Films' "Girl Rising" documents extraordinary girls and the power of education to change the world.
The benefits of girls' education
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What happens when you educate a girl? What happens when you educate a girl?
'Girl Rising,' coming at 9 p.m. ET Sunday

We have, among ourselves, the power to change the lives of everyone. Each of us must use our voice through whatever networks we have to spread the news that educating girls will transform the world. We must talk to our neighbors, tell our friends, share our tweets and blogs, and create a great noise so that no leader, no education official and no head teacher or principal can avoid hearing the message: that every child -- which means every single girl -- deserves to go to school and learn.

-- Sarah Brown

Read more open letters

Open letter from Christiane Amanpour: It's time to power the world

Open letter from Queen Rania of Jordan: More than tiaras and cupcakes

More: CNN's "Girl Rising"

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