When 9-year-old Michaela entered a Girl Rising essay contest at her school, she decided to reflect on the actions she would take to change the world for girls in Afghanistan, inspired by Amina’s story in our film.

Currently, there are more girls enrolled in school in Afghanistan than ever before, but much work still needs to be done as less than 30% of the female population is literate and a range of barriers often keeps Afghanistan’s girls from achieving opportunity and potential. We’re hopeful that, thanks to hardworking students and their communities in Afghanistan, and passionate advocates like Michaela, this can continue to change!

Her inspiring essay is below:

One way that I would envision improving the lives of young women and girls in Afghanistan is by becoming the first female president of the United States of America. By being the President of the United States, I will be allowed certain privileges that normal people do not have. As the President of the United States, I will be able to sit down with the President of Afghanistan and come up with programs that will change the lives of young girls in that country.

This is Michaela, an elementary school student from Queens, New York. After watching Amina's story in Girl Rising she entered her school's Girl Rising essay contest at her teacher's encouragement.

While watching the movie Girl Rising, the story of Amina from Afghanistan really made me mad and sad at the same time. Amina was sold at 11 to an older cousin for $5,000, and her parents used that money to buy a pick-up truck for her older brother. Amina a child, now has a baby herself.

“The country is highly dependent on foreign aid and continues to struggle with deficiencies in housing, clean water, electricity, medical care, education, physical infrastructure and the inability to institute rules of law consistently throughout the country.”

Amina's story from the Girl Rising film inspired Michaela to write her essay about what she would do to make sure girls in Afghanistan have the chance to go to school.

Since the country is dependent on aid from countries, I would make it a condition that in order to receive help from the United States and our friends, they must allow our Secretary of Education to come to their country and completely re-do their current education system. I would speak to groups here in the USA like the Afghan Friends Network to get ideas on how we can stop young girls from being forced into marriage by giving them a great education.

I would create a task force specifically for the education of girls around the world in poor countries with Afghanistan being one of them, and begin to create programs like the Afghan Friends Network has, such as: Afghan Women’s Writing Project, Green Village Schools, The Women’s National Book Association, and creating a fund to make sure all of the school supplies are purchased.

I would also like to work with colleges and companies here in the USA to create opportunities for the young girls as they grow up to come to college here and after they graduate to have a job. This will allow the girls to send money to their families and help get them out of poverty. This is how I, Michaela, would change the world for girls around the world.

Do you know a school like Michaela’s that might benefit from free, Girl Rising-inspired educational tools? Spread the word and learn more about our Educator Program.