7
Aug

Brave Girl Rising


[♪♪] -[narrator] This is Nasro.
-[woman] Nasro, can you look here? [narrator]
She’s 17 years old. She plays herself in a story from her
own life that you are about to see. She is the latest in a remarkable group
of young women whose stories Girl Rising
began to tell in 2013. And their stories are important, because these girls hold our future
in their hands. If they,
and the millions of girls like them, succeed in getting the
kind of education they need, incredible things will happen… for them, for their families,
for their community… for all of us. Girls in school stay healthier,
get married later, and have fewer children. As educated women, they earn more,
raise healthier families, and make sure their children go to school. The fight for girls’ education
has made incredible strides. But one group of girls remains
uniquely vulnerable… refugees. Every day, people around the world
are forced from their homes in search of safety and better lives. More than 68 million people
have been driven from the place they once called home. Seventeen million of these are girls. In east Africa,
hundreds of thousands of Somalis have fled famine and violence to a
refugee camp in Kenya. Some have been
here for more than 25 years. Many were born here. It’s called Dadaab. In 2018, the acclaimed poet Warsan Shire,
herself a refugee, worked with Girl Rising to tell the story
of one girl. Nasro. My name is Nasro. I am my mother’s daughter… the doll within the doll. I carry my mother’s fears in my feet. I love cats,
my favorite color is green… -Hi.
-…I love to dance. I’ve lived here almost my whole life… stuck between two worlds… this damned asylum. My life is defined by absence. I am a child with no mother… from a people with no home. [baby crying] I have a present with no future. I. SOWDO GIVES BIRTH TO A GIRL [baby crying] Mother was my first loss. [crying] Bless my hooyo, who bled to death. Mother was a cocoon where
my cells sparked, my limbs formed… Mother swelled
and stretched to protect me. She sacrificed herself. I am my mother given a second chance, born into this world over and over again, searching for a way out. What type of loneliness is it… when you’re between two places
but belong to neither one? I vibrate between this world and the next. I vibrate between
girlhood and womanhood. Children are born here,
they grow into adults here. I am scared we will die here. There are many names for this place
between heaven and hell… limbo… purgatory… Dadaab. II. THE LOST AND FOUND OF HUMANITY Home was my second loss. It spat us out. Nineteen days to walk here from Somalia. I didn’t know where I was going…
or if I’d ever get there. No one leaves home…
unless home is the mouth of a shark. At every checkpoint, we were asked,
“Are you human?” We felt we were still human… but worried that overnight,
while we walked, they changed the classification. We were the sin of memory
and the absence of memory. We are the lost and found of humanity. III. GIRL MUST FIND A WAY TO SURVIVE There are a few good things in my life… school, wearing red, because red is for the girl
who is at the top of her class, the soft faces of my friends
smiling back at me. And sometimes there are weddings,
and we dance. Anything to forget where we are
for a little while. [speaking Somali over PA] We’re reminded every day that,
because we are girls, we must walk fast, must lower our gaze… must stay in the light… must get home before dusk. We are forgotten here… left to go on living in the in-between. We have forged a life
where others would not be able to. I live twice, imagining my life. If the war had never happened,
if my skin were a different color… would life be so hard? Would hunger and thirst
still feel like a birthright? [pounding continues] IV. DREAMS IN WHICH MOTHER APPEARS [whispering in Somali] I used to dream of snakes
entering the camp… now I sleep and I dream of
Hooyo Macaan, “Sweet Mother.” In the mirror I look like my mother… the ghost inside the girl. I’m 17 years old… dreaming of growing wings. [woman speaking Somali] This dream with Hooyo is different. [speaking in Somali] I can see her face.
I can smell her uunsi. We wrap our arms around our body, connected again like
when I entered this world. She holds my hand in her hand,
draws a flower on my palm. In this dream, Hooyo says, “What will you do
with your one life, Nasro?” [speaking Somali] “You must pledge allegiance to yourself.” Mother says education is worth risking
your life for. [speaking Somali] That it is my right. I keep this in my head, trying to conjure
up the scent of her sandalwood. It’s not enough to say a prayer here. If you walk alone, you are the prey. We move in numbers: shoal of fish,
murmuration of birds. We stay alert, looking for signs,
an omen… black snake, slick eel of dust. Taking one path over another
can seal your fate. There is death… and there are things you imagine
might feel worse than death. Some people have turned
into monsters here… and some were always like this. V. HOW TO BLOOM IN DARK PLACES [teacher]
Let’s now review our previous lessons. What does this figure has? How many arms do I need to grow
to fight off what scares me? How many legs to leave? How many dreams until Mother tells
me how to escape this place? Mother has given me a message. I must tell the girls,
so they can memorize it too. If I ever forget, they will remind me. [class speaking Somali] I read to them the words
as my mother said them. [speaking Somali] We pledge allegiance to our bodies. We pledge allegiance
to fortifying our girlhood, We pledge allegiance to water,
to its dutiful scarcity. We do not bow to thirst
and the shadow it casts over our lives. We will be our own mothers. We will be the big sisters we never had. We will be the fathers we almost had. We will fortify our own walls. We will protect the vulnerable. We will protect ourselves…
so we will protect each other. [chuckles] Our mothers are our talisman
in this unholy place. Our mothers guide and guard us
from the next world… helping our safe passage
from girl into woman. Bless us born girls: born black,
born into war, born to no home… may we find love everywhere we go. [speaking Somali] Love always finds a way
to exist, even in here. -[applause]
-Okay, thank you. The best girl in class seven is Nasro. [clapping] Can you clap, everybody? She deserves it. Keep up, eh.[speaks Somali] So, I wish you well in your future
so keep the continue. Okay, thank you.[speaks Somali] Joy is ours to find and keep. Tenderness is ours to raise. Love is not a myth. Loss is not our mother tongue. [chanting] [woman undulating] We’re looking for a way out… with our mothers’ unused wings
on our backs. [undulating] This is a flag for our pledge
of allegiance… for our mothers’ sacrifices… for our daily acts of courage… for our future and the futures
of our daughters… may they know a world outside this place. May we see them soar. [♪♪] ♪ I wanna leave my footprints
On the sands of time ♪ ♪ Know there was something that
Meant something that I left behind ♪ ♪ When I leave this world,
I’ll leave no regrets ♪ ♪ Leave something to remember
So they won’t forget ♪ ♪ I was here ♪ ♪ I lived, I loved, I was here ♪ ♪ I did, I’ve done
Everything that I wanted ♪ ♪ And it was more
Than I thought it would be ♪ ♪ I will leave my mark
So everyone will know ♪ ♪ I was here ♪ ♪ I lived, I loved, I was here ♪ ♪ I did, I’ve done,
Everything that I wanted ♪ ♪ And it was more than I thought
It would be ♪ ♪ I will leave my mark
So everyone will know ♪ ♪ I was here ♪ ♪ I just want them to know ♪ ♪ That I gave my all, did my best ♪ ♪ Brought someone some happiness ♪ ♪ Left this world a little better
Just because ♪ ♪ I was here ♪ ♪ I lived, I loved, I was here ♪ ♪ I lived, I loved, I was here ♪ ♪ I did, I’ve done, I was here ♪♪

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