It's a special day. It's the International Day of the Girl! Every year, this day reminds me of my commitment to trying to help make the world a better place for its girls. I was so lucky as a girl -- my parents made my education a priority, enrolling me to the best schools they could afford. They ferried me to ballet and violin lessons in the afternoon and sent me to camps over the summer. They did everything to ensure that I would have a chance to have a fulfilled and productive future.
So many girls in developing countries are not so lucky. Through the luck of the cards, the opportunities they have are few and far between. Their parents grapple with trying to make ends meet. School is not a priority - indeed 34 million adolescent girls are not in school today. When girls are denied an education, they are more likely to marry as children. 700 million women alive today were married at the age of 17 years old or younger. Poor girls are 2.5 times more likely to marry in childhood.
The fact is that this is not good, this is not fair, and this is not acceptable.
When my husband and I founded the non-profit organization, Project Soar in 2013, it was our small way as social entrepreneurs of tackling this problem. We wanted to help empower girls to continue their education through after school activities. See what happens here when girls get an education.
My husband and I committed ourselves to making our businesses -- Peacock Pavilions and the M.Montague Souk -- enterprises that gave back. And they do! We are proud to have channeled thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of service to Project Soar. Today the organization has a fantastic full time field manager, Olivia DiNucci (pictured below) in a collaboration with the Peace Corps/Morocco. We also have an academic director and several part-time instructors. We have just taken over a second small building in our community in order to be able to offer girls more academic support and a safe space to study.
In June an incredible visit by US First Lady Michelle Obama to Morocco as part of her #LetGirlsLearn initiative gave Project Soar a chance to participate in a critical discussion around girl's education. The amazing team at Girl Rising came out to Project Soar with Meryl Streep (pinch me!) to film the new movie, We Will Rise, and included the story of two of our girls.
The We Will Rise film is premiering today and tomorrow on CNN! Please help us celebrate the Day of the Girl by watching with your friends and family! This clip (IT'S SO GOOD!) on CNN will give you a feel!
The First Lady extended an invitation to Washington to the two Project Soar girls featured in the film, as well as to our Project Soar Field Manager. So they will be watching from the White House! Amazing!!!
As President of Project Soar, this is such a special moment in our history. I would love for you to join us! Please consider making a donation to Project Soar and let's #LetGirlsLearn! Also, please follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. We are also looking for some talented new board members. If you are interested in joining our great small board, please write me at projectsoarmarrakeshATgmail.com to learn about the financial and time requirements. It's an exciting way to do something concrete to empower girls!