From a very young age, it was drummed into us the importance of education. In a rarity for Australia, I am a third generation higher education degree family, so going onto university, or at least studying further after high school was just assumed. However, there was never a greater supporter of my cousins, siblings and I getting a quality education than my grandmother.
My grandmother was the second of six children to a Greek immigrant father and Anglo-Australian mother. She was basically forced to leave school at the age of 11-12 so that she could help out in the family’s fish shop. She had this amazing thirst for knowledge and desire to know all about the world around her. A voracious reader, she devoured everything she could get her hands on. However, one of her greatest regrets in life was her lack of formal schooling and a feeling of inferiority that that left her with. It is for this reason that she was so supportive of all of her grandchildren (seven girls and four boys) and interested in their education.
So why am I telling you this story? Well earlier today (June 20) USAID released a new PSA featuring a number of famous voices advocating for girls’ education. Under the bannerhead, Let Girls Learn, celebrities from all walks of life including Anne Hathaway, Alicia Keys, Darren Criss, Chris Colfer, Josh Duhamel, Jennifer Garner, Susan Saradon, Kelly Osborne and James Van Der Beek, just to name a handful take a leaf out of my grandmother’s book and remind viewers not only about the importance of girls receiving an education, but the numerous obstacles that they continue to face all around the world. Things that are happening today, here and now. Obstacles like being kidnapped, being killed for insisting they had the right to learn, fighting to stay in school, even fighting to attend school.
You can find out more about the campaign funded by the U.S. government and spearheaded by USAID at their website, or join the conversation online with the tag #letgirlslearn.