The Girl

“Poetry is how I turn ugliness into art.”

7 Senna’s family struggles to survive in a bleak Peruvian mining town. Her father has dreams for her, and insists she go to school. There, she discovers the transformative power of poetry. Her passion and talent seem to ensure she’ll have a better future, and be the success her father dreamed she’d be.

The Writer

Marie Arana tells Senna’s story. Born in Lima to a Peruvian father and an American mother, the author, editor and journalist is deeply engaged in both worlds. A writer of fiction and memoir, Arana has dedicated herself to explaining each culture to the other. Her commitment to Peru, and to the struggles of the disadvantaged there, permeates her work.

The Country

Peru is the most prosperous country in the film. But that fact can be deceptive. Illiteracy rates are more than twice as high for women as for men, and for many indigenous Peruvians, education remains an unattainable luxury. This is especially true for girls in the mountains and jungles where so much of Peru’s prosperity, in the form of natural resources, is being pulled from the ground.

The Artist

Senna’s story is narrated by Academy Award-nominee Salma Hayek, who says, “Many women around the world continue to struggle for equality in education. I hope Girl Rising raises the visibility on a global level for this fundamental issue.”


With CARE’s help, Senna’s family has moved off the mountaintop to a city with better housing and schools. She is now in secondary school and the once-shy Senna is Treasurer Brigadier of her class. Ever brave, she recently stood up at a meeting with local officials to demand better sanitation for her old school, and the district is now adding new plumbing. Senna has discovered the internet – her email address naturally includes “xenawarriorprincess.” She has come a long way, and our partner, CARE, supports the education and development of thousands of other girls, too.