An Indian girl was raised as a household slave. She managed to get out of the house and get an education, and she is now helping other girls in her country.
All over the world, there are places where girls are struggling to get an education as a result of poverty or other social barriers. When Ariana Agrios, a 17-year-old Oak Hall School student, saw a movie that depicted these real-life stories of girls fighting to overcome the obstacles they faced, she wanted everyone she knew to see it.
Agrios said she has always thought of herself as a feminist and has frequently read about promoting the education of girls on the U.N. website. But this movie, “Girl Rising,” inspired her to take action.
“I heard that you could bring it to your hometown, and I thought that’d be a great idea,” she said.
Agrios started a campaign to sponsor a special screening of “Girl Rising” in Gainesville. For the past month, she worked daily to persuade friends, organizations and anyone else she could find to reserve tickets, with a minimum of 100 reservations needed to screen the movie. On Sunday, she passed that total.
“When she says she’s going to do something, she sees it through,” said Tony Agrios, Ariana’s father. “I knew when she took it on, she’d work as hard as she could to get it done.”
“Girl Rising” will be screening at Regal Cinemas Royal Park Stadium 16 at 3702 W. Newberry Road on Sept. 16 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be reserved through the web service Gathr Films, which Agrios used to organize the screening.
“Girl Rising” first aired in spring 2013 as the first film of CNN Films. The movie was created for the 10×10 act, which promotes the education of girls in areas where they have little to no option of schooling. Proceeds from ticket sales to screenings of the film go directly to outreach centers in those areas.
“If you can educate these girls, you can change the environment they live in, and you can change the world,” Ariana Agrios said.
As soon as she decided to sponsor the movie, Agrios began reaching out to spread word of the film. She spoke with her friends at Oak Hall School, her parents’ coworkers and fellow members of the St. Elizabeth the Wonderworker Greek Orthodox Church. She said almost everyone she talked to was interested and receptive.
Agrios has done community service projects before, mostly through her school’s Key Club and volunteer work at the Florida Museum of Natural History. Her primary interest is political science, and she studies four languages: Spanish, French, Mandarin Chinese and Classical Greek.
She hopes to one day work for the U.N. and said that she would like to continue to work toward the education of girls worldwide throughout her life.
“She’s very passionate about doing something worthwhile,” said Vivynne Agrios, Ariana’s mother. She added that Ariana wants to use her interests in history, language and politics to pursue something meaningful.
Chandler Whitefield, 17, Agrios’ friend and classmate at Oak Hall, was one of the first to reserve a ticket for the screening. She said after hearing Agrios constantly talk about the film, she was eager to see how inspirational it truly was.
Whitefield said that what Agrios is doing is out of the ordinary and has moved a lot of people. She said that it stands out because many people are complacent and don’t try to make the effort to motivate people.
“What she’s doing is a lot of work, and I think a lot of people recognize that,” she said. “Most people are proud of her for doing it.”