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Kidnapped girls: what you can do to help

By Betsy Anderson and Katie Walmsley, CNN
updated 5:13 PM EDT, Tue May 13, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Want to help the kidnapped Nigerian girls, and others facing barriers to education?
  • 600 million adolescent girls live in developing countries; millions can't go to school.
  • The Malala Fund has launched an initiative to support girls' education programs in Nigeria
  • There are many other organizations helping girls around the world overcome obstacles

New York (CNN) -- #BringBackOurGirls has now been tweeted more than a million times across the world, as global outrage over the kidnap of hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls grows.

Shock has given way to anger as thousands in cities everywhere took to the streets to demand the Nigerian government, and other authorities, do more to rescue them.

"The Nigerian girls are my sisters," said Malala Yousafzai, who after being shot in the head by the Taliban for going to school launched The Malala Fund, which raises money for girls' education initiatives globally.

The Malala Fund has now launched a Nigerian girls education campaign to support Nigerian organizations which are working to promote girls' schooling around the country.

Indeed, "Boko Haram" translated means "Western education is sin." The militant group is one of many that threaten the efforts of girls worldwide to go to school, and to change their circumstances.

CNN's Girl Rising looked at just some examples of the obstacles that many of the more than 600 million adolescent girls living in developing countries face every day -- obstacles that prevent them from going to school, from freedom, and from simply being a child.

There are many ways to help girls, like those kidnapped in Nigeria, who face persecution, violence, poverty and other barriers to education.

GIVE

CNN and Impact Your World don't accept donations but do help you find reputable places to give your money and time. "CNN's Girl Rising" was the centerpiece of 10x10, a global campaign to educate and empower girls. It created the 10x10 Fund for Girls' Education.

Donations to this fund are distributed evenly among the film's nonprofit partners. Many of the girls profiled in the film were helped by these organizations, and the groups continue to work for girls' education in developing countries. As little as $50 can educate a girl for a year.

CARE USA works to help educate girls in some of the poorest, most desperate parts of the rural areas in the mountains of Peru. Senna from "Girl Rising" was helped by this organization.

GirlUp -- United Nations Foundation is a campaign inspiring American girls to take action for girls in countries such as Ethiopia, Guatemala and Liberia who face a lack of access to education and are susceptible to child marriage, high maternal death rates and HIV infection.

The U.N. also spearheads the Girls' Education Initiative, a partnership of organizations that hope by 2015, children everywhere can complete free primary schooling.

Partners in Health has worked in places such as Haiti, Rwanda, Malawi and Lesotho. They try to help all children, especially girls, receive the health care and social support needed to go to school. Wadley from "Girl Rising" benefits from Partners in Health's work in Haiti.

Plan International USA tries to give girls around the world access to food, water, education, financial security and protection from sexual violence and exploitation. Yasmin, the girl in Egypt in "Girl Rising," was part of a Plan International USA program helping to keep street girls safe.

Room to Read focuses on helping young girls develop literacy skills and a habit of reading. Their hope is to create a legacy of gender-equal education in developing countries such as Nepal and Cambodia. Suma from "Girl Rising" had the chance to learn because of Room to Read.

World Vision supports girls' education in many countries through many initiatives. Two of the girls in "Girl Rising" are World Vision-sponsored children: Ruksana from India and Azmera from Ethiopia.

"Education is truly a girl's best chance for a bright future," First Lady Michelle Obama said in her weekly address, "not just for herself, but for her family and her nation."

More from CNN Films' "Girl Rising"

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