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Marking International Day of the Girl with 'Girl Rising'

Saturday - 10/12/2013, 1:21pm  ET

Bob Madigan and Debra Feinstein,

WASHINGTON - Right now, 77 million girls can only dream of going to school, but tradition and oppression block their way.

That's why the documentary, "Girl Rising," played in theaters all over the country on Oct. 10. The film tells the compelling stories of nine extraordinary girls from nine developing countries, each fighting against all odds, such as being to being forced into early teenage marriage, child slavery and sexual assault. Some were kept in the dark -- both literally and figuratively.

These nine women overcome these seemingly insurmountable economic and cultural odds with one goal in mind: to simply to get an education. As the producers have noted, they are but a small sampling of the issue but an uplifting example of the power of education.

One screening of "Girl Rising" took place in Rockville, Md. It was organized by Julia Dubner, who felt compelled to share the film for several reasons.

"Oct. 11 is International Day of the Girl, Oct. 12 is my daughter's tenth birthday, this is the time to do it," Dubner says.

Another mother, Linda Silverstein from Brookeville, Md., agreed the timing of the premiere was right.

"The whole time I was thinking, I wonder what my girls are thinking," says Silverstein, who brought her 15-and 17-year-old daughters to see the film.

"Not only because it is an important story and they should be aware of it I wanted them to appreciate the education that they're fortunate to get even though they complain about (the) homework and schedules and pressure, that it really is a gift and not something to be taken for granted."

Jillian Masters, 16, was among the young women who watched the screen of "Girl Rising."

"I am definitely not as strong as these girls are, and I definitely would not be able to live the life they are living," says Masters, who is from Olney, Md.

"(Watching the film) made me feel more powerful as a girl. If these people struggling through these hard times can do these things, then I can do these powerful things, as well."

Brooke O'Connell, 17, took away from the film that education can set you free.

"To not take advantage of this (education) would really just be wrong. Because there are so many girls that don't have this opportunity, so I have to really make sure that at the end of the day, am I truly taking advantage of it," says O'Connell, who is also from Olney.

Interested in hosting your own screening of "Girl Rising? Dubner says the website,, offers steps on how to host or captain a screening.

The Gathr Films website, which helps to organize film screenings, is also easy to navigate, Dubner says.

Watch the trailer for "Girl Rising" below:

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