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On a mission to amplify the voices of girls fighting to go to school. First stop: Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, India, and Pakistan.
On a mission to amplify the voices of girls fighting to go to school. First stop: Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, India, and Pakistan.
253 backers pledged $40,961 to help bring this project to life.

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#GIRLWITHABOOK Chapter 1: South & Central Asia

$40,961

253

We did it! All thanks to all of YOU, our lovely backers!
We did it! All thanks to all of YOU, our lovely backers!
These are our "YAY we're so excited!" faces
These are our "YAY we're so excited!" faces

32 Million Girls Out of Primary School. Help Tell Their Story. 

Chapter 1: South & Central Asia.

Educating girls has gotten a lot of attention lately, yet far too many people still don’t realize how pervasive education barriers are throughout the world, especially for girls. The #GIRLWITHABOOK Project will travel through Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, India, and Pakistan exposing education barriers girls are facing every day. Our approach is twofold: document a day in the life of girls going to school in each country, and share the work of organizations and individuals who are breaking down their community’s barriers for girls and education. It’s a documentary endeavor, but for our viewers, it’s so much more than that. We’ll be posting videos, interviews, photos, vines, tweets, you name it, to our website and other social channels, allowing you to meet the amazing people we encounter, as we encounter them.

Globally, more than 32 million girls who should be in primary school are instead working, married, or otherwise prevented from accessing their education. Child labor, child sex trafficking, child marriage, poverty, and healthcare are some of the greatest barriers to girls’ education around the world.

Of the 774 million illiterate people in the world, two-thirds are women.

1 in 9 girls will be married before the age of 15.

The number one cause of death for girls age 14-19 is pregnancy and childbirth related issues.

Girls who give birth before the age of 15 are 5 times more likely to die in childbirth than women in their 20s.

The state of the girl child is dire. Fortunately, the way forward is clear.

Girls who are educated are more likely to delay marriage. They delay having children. They are better able to advocate for themselves in their relationships. Their earning potential increases 10-15 percent for each additional year of schooling. Their communities are healthier and more prosperous. And women who complete primary school have children who are 50 percent more likely to survive to age 5.

Educating girls is the smart thing to do. But you know what else?

It’s the RIGHT thing to do.

Education is a human right and girls are people. It’s as simple as that. And we want to share their stories.

Personalized Video Postcard from us while we're on the road! How often do you get a "hello" from Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, India, or Pakistan? 

Bumper Sticker for anyone contributing at the $30 and $70 levels. Want a bumper sticker added to your order? Just add $6 to your contribution of $70 or more! 

T-Shirt a unique design exclusively for our Kickstarter backers contributing at the $70 level. Want a t-shirt added to your order? Just add $35 to your order of $70 or more.

Library Tote 

Original Photobook only 35 copies remain of the original photobook that Ban Ki-moon gifted to Malala on our behalf for her 16th birthday. This hardcover edition contains hundreds of images submitted to #GIRLWITHABOOK in our early days as well as images from Ban Ki-moon, Jane Goodall, Midori, and Paulo Coelho. 

Original Images from the Expedition beautiful, mounted images from principal photographer and filmmaker Jennifer Ciochon. You can view some of her previous work here.

Calendar with Original Images from the Expedition beautiful images from principal photographer and filmmaker Jennifer Ciochon compiled into a 12 month wall calendar. Enjoy the beauty and complexity of Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, India, and Pakistan month after month. 

Photobook of Original Images from the Expedition beautiful images from principal photographer and filmmaker Jennifer Ciochon compiled into a quality photobook. Enjoy the beauty and complexity of Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, India, and Pakistan in a book you can proudly display, demonstrating your contribution to this important project. 

This is a big topic, a big undertaking, a big project, and we want to do it right. $40,000 allows us to journey through these four countries, digging into the stories of girls who are pursuing an education and then deliver those stories to you, our audience, in real time. 

Filming in these countries is expensive, especially when we will be doing everything feasible to stay as safe as possible. Fixers, translators, and security considerations play a major role in determining our budget and comprise a significant portion of our expenses. Have more specific questions? Feel free to ask in the comments or email us at girlwithabookmovement@gmail.com

 Lena Shareef (co-founder & content curator) holds an MS in Journalism from Columbia University and a BA in Film and Communications, with a minor in International Studies, from American University. Lena works in the digital media department at a communications agency in New York and is passionate about telling stories in innovative ways, be it in the form of a video, a novel, or a tweet.

Olivia Curl (co-founder & producer) is a graduate of American University’s School of International Service and currently works in women's healthcare. She holds a BA in International Studies and a minor in Arabic. Olivia gets really fired up about girls’ education, child marriage, and maternal mortality, or as she likes to say “the ultimate trifecta of gender equality and development.” 

Jennifer Ciochon (principal photographer & filmmaker) is a photojournalist currently based in Tunisia. She holds an MA in International Journalism from City University in London, as well as an MA in Islamic Societies and Cultures from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. She received her BA in International Studies from American University and has lived in Switzerland, US, Egypt, India and the UK before moving to Tunisia. You can see some of her photography at www.jciochon.com

The #GIRLWITHABOOK Movement is a not-for-profit organization promoting girls’ education around the world through innovative and interactive social media. Co-founders Lena Shareef and Olivia Curl believe that education is one of the most powerful tools to change the world. We’ve seen the immense power an educated girl can have. Sadly, far too many girls grow up without ever setting foot in a classroom. Visit our website to learn more.

Risks and challenges

We know what you’re thinking “a couple of women are going to wander around Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, India, and Pakistan?” And that’s a valid consideration. Here’s the thing: we are highly experienced travelers and journalists, with language skills and Hostile Environment Training. We are fully aware of the risks involved in undertaking this project, and safety is our first priority.

That being said, both Olivia and Jennifer have traveled through India, with Jennifer spending a year dividing her time between an education NGO and working as a journalist for Al Jazeera in Delhi. Lena has spent considerable time in Pakistan working with several education NGOs.

Of course, unexpected events will always come up, that’s part of what makes documentary work real and worthwhile. We’ll be doing constant security assessments, ensuring that we’re getting the real story of girls in all educational situations, while taking security into consideration with every decision we make.

Covering so much ground in just a few months will certainly be challenging, but with our research front loaded before we depart, our language skills, our broad networks throughout these countries and journalism experience, we’re ready to take it on.

We want to do this right. We want to share the experiences of girls going to school, regardless of where those girls are living. It would be wrong to travel so far only to ignore the most challenging environments. We want to highlight the incredible work being done by individuals and organizations who are working within their communities to create change, and who so rarely have a megaphone available to share their work.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 5 or more About US$ 5

    Congrats! You think girls should be in school (because, duh) and decided to stop by and show your support. As thanks we'll tweet a feminist book recommendation to you within a week of your pledge. Just be sure to follow us @_girlwithabook and keep your eyes peeled!

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 15 or more About US$ 15

    You believe in the power of girls AND the power of interactive media. Your pledge earns you a Personalized Video Postcard from us while we're on the road and you'll get a feminist book recommendation via twitter within a week of your pledge.

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    20 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 30 or more About US$ 30

    Not only are you committed to supporting girls' education, you want to tell the world about it. Your generous donation earns you:
    - A book recommendation via Twitter
    - A personalized video postcard from the expedition
    - A #GIRLWITHABOOK Bumper Sticker

    (Estimated delivery date applies to bumper sticker)

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 70 or more About US$ 70

    We know you believe wholeheartedly in educating girls, but let's be real: you want serious #GIRLWITHABOOK swag to tell the world about it. Your very generous contribution earns you:
    - A #GIRLWITHABOOK T-shirt exclusively designed for our Kickstarter backers and printed on high quality American Apparel T-shirts.
    - 2 #GIRLWITHABOOK bumper stickers
    - A personalized video postcard during the expedition
    - A Twitter book recommendation

    (Estimated delivery date applies to T-shirt and bumper stickers)

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    23 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 125 or more About US$ 125

    An all star advocate for girls' education, you are a coveted Bronze supporter of the #GIRLWITHABOOK Project. Your enthusiasm and generosity earns you:
    - A personalized video postcard from the expedition
    - A canvas library tote bag
    - 2 original photographs from the expedition
    - A first edition photobook from the early days of the #GIRLWITHABOOK Movement. (This is the same book Ban Ki-moon presented to Malala Yousafzai on her 16th birthday at the UN on our behalf. There are only 35 copies of the book so first come, first served)!
    - You will also be featured on our website and video credits as a bronze supporter. You rock!

    (Estimated delivery date applies to tote bag and photobook).

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 125 or more About US$ 125

    An all star advocate for girls' education, you are a coveted Bronze supporter of the #GIRLWITHABOOK Project. Your enthusiasm and generosity earns you:
    - A personalized video postcard from the expedition
    - A canvas library tote bag
    - 2 original photographs from the expedition
    - A calendar with images from the expedition
    - Your name featured on our website and video credits as a Bronze supporter. You rock!

    Estimated Delivery...
    Tote bag 5/2015
    Video postcard 11/2015
    Calendar 1/2016
    Original Photographs 2/2016

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 250 or more About US$ 250

    You're really excited about exposing the barriers girls face in going to school, and you want mementos from each step of the journey. Your generous donation as a Silver supporter earns you:
    - A photobook and calendar with original images from the expedition
    - 5 original mounted photographs
    - Your name featured on our website and video credits as a Silver supporter

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 500 or more About US$ 500

    You get really fired up about educating girls and you don't want to miss a moment of the action. As a Gold supporter, your generous contribution earns you:
    - A DVD or digital download of all expedition footage with a personalized "thank you" at the top of your copy
    - A photobook and calendar with original images from the expedition
    - 5 original mounted photographs
    - Your name featured on our website and video credits as a Gold supporter

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 750 or more About US$ 750

    Are you a group of students who care passionately about girls and education? This is the deal for you! Any group of students with a sponsoring teacher or administrator (applies also to girl scout troops, youth groups, etc) can band together and donate to the #GIRLWITHABOOK Project. Your collective donation earns you:
    - A bumper sticker for each student
    - A movie-sized poster from the expedition
    - A skype pizza party for your group. i.e: we'll buy pizza and soda, have it delivered to your class or group, and then video-conference in to join the party!
    This offer is limited to the first 15 student groups to pitch in-- so hurry & reserve your pizza party!

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 1,000 or more About US$ 1,000

    As a Platinum supporter you understand the incredible impact educated girls can have in their communities and the world. Your generous donation earns you:
    - A DVD or digital download of all expedition footage with a personalized "thank you" at the top of your copy
    - A photobook and calendar with original images from the expedition
    - 5 original mounted photographs
    - A producer's poster
    - Your name featured on our website and video credits as a Platinum supporter

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 2,500 or more About US$ 2,500

    As an executive producer of the #GIRLWITHABOOK Project you are entitled to everything at the platinum level as well as VIP invitation to our official landing party. These exclusive events (to be held in NYC, DC, and Portland upon our return) are an opportunity for you to receive public recognition for your generous support of this endeavor.

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    Pledge US$ 3,500 or more About US$ 3,500

    Just 8 schools will have the opportunity to engage with #GIRLWITHABOOK co-founders Olivia Curl & Lena Shareef in person. Schools that contribute $3500 or more will be visited in person by both Olivia & Lena who will bring with them an interactive presentation on girls' education, social media, and the power of standing up for something. This presentation is fit for any age (elementary-high school) and will be followed with curriculum for a half day of workshops on social media activism, global issues, education, and more. The school will also receive a "movie" poster and certificate of support at the executive producer level.
    Your school will also be featured on our website and video credits.

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Funding period

- (30 days)