In a first of its kind, Girl Rising ambassadors Priyanka Chopra, Freida Pinto support and promote ‘Girl Rising’ India, which throws light on a campaign to increase secondary school completion rates for girls and reduce gender-based discrimination in India. Girl Rising, a global campaign for girls’ education that uses storytelling to promote the truth about the transformative power of educating girls and to catalyze support for girls’ education and empowerment, today announced an ambitious public-private partnership. USAID has provided start-up funding for Girl Rising: ENGAGE INDIA (Empowering New Generations to Advance Girls’ Education), to bring Girl Rising to India and engage a diverse cross-section of allies to take action for girls.

The Girl Rising: ENGAGE INDIA partnership is launching a two-year initiative with a focused goal of getting more girls to pass Class 10 and increasing secondary school completion rates for girls and reduce gender-based discrimination in India. The announcement was made at a high-powered event in the American Center, hosted by Chargé d’Affaires Ambassador Kathleen Stephens and attended by Indian Film Stars and Girl Rising ambassadors Priyanka Chopra and Freida Pinto, Holly Gordon – co-founder and CEO at Girl Rising, Samantha Wright, VP of Global Programs at Girl Rising, Lloyd Mathias – CMO at HP India, Ashutosh Chadha, – Director of Corporate Affairs at Intel, Debjani Ghosh – VP Sales and Marketing Group and Managing Director South Asia at Intel Corporation, Neeta Broochra – President at FICCI FLO, Vivek Rangachari – Director & Commissioning Producer at DAR Motion Pictures, Priya Naik – Founder and Joint MD at Samhita Social Ventures, amongst others. Also present at the event were leading Indian business tycoons and industry figureheads.

Commenting on the initiative, Priyanka Chopra said: “I’ve been a part of the Girl Rising campaign since inception and am honoured to be able to bring this powerful idea to India. I am also extremely humbled by and grateful for the support from my colleagues in the industry. All it took was one phone call for me to have these amazing 7 ladies to graciously agree to join us on this journey. If more girls are educated, all of India stands to gain. The Girl Rising campaign aims to address that through various innovative initiatives that will not only help create awareness but also create a tangible platform to effect change.”

“Too often, it is social and traditional ideas that are holding girls back. People just can’t imagine a different future for girls. The time has come where instead of questioning why we should educate girls, we should be asking why not. When we know that educating a girl can change the world, why wait? With Girl Rising we will change that” added Freida Pinto.

Internationally, Girl Rising has an incredible family of support, including: Intel, Microsoft Co-Founder Paul Allen, CNN, UN Special Envoy for Education Gordon Brown, Queen Rania of Jordan, Meryl Streep, Alicia Keys, Anne Hathaway, Liam Neeson, financier Pete Peterson, Brookings, CARE, Plan International, World Vision, Ford Foundation, Nike Foundation, Skoll Foundation, and more. Girl Rising India would not be possible without the support of partners every step of the way. USAID India Mission, FICCI-FLO, HP India, Intel Corporation, The Harbers Family Foundation, Cisco, Catalyst, Unitus Capital, Brunswick, Samhita, Korn Ferry and DAR Motion Pictures have been integral to this Girl Rising: ENGAGE INDIA announcement.

The Girl Rising: ENGAGE INDIA partnership is launching a two-year storytelling campaign to increase secondary school completion rates for girls and reduce gender-based discrimination in India with an ambition to get more girls to pass Class 10. Girl Rising: ENGAGE INDIA will be activated by a new Bollywood version of the widely-acclaimed Girl Rising feature film, reviewed by The New York Times as “one of the hottest cause documentaries in years.” The film spotlights the stories of nine unforgettable girls around the world, striving against difficult circumstance to achieve their dreams. It shows audiences what change looks like and inspires change-makers to stand up and get involved.

Commenting on Girl Rising: ENGAGE INDIA’s focus, Holly Gordon, Girl Rising Co-Founder and CEO, said: “Educating girls is not only vital to India’s prosperity and stability, but also represents an unprecedented economic opportunity. Women are the biggest emerging market ever seen. They influence 65% of the world’s annual consumer spending–and, right now it is estimated that there are 270 million women and girls under age 25 in India. Furthermore, by not educating girls equally, it is estimated that India misses out on potential economic growth of about $33 billion dollars per year.”