According to One.org, 130 million girls are being denied an education right this moment around the world.
“Our leaders can make sure all girls get an education, but we need to put pressure on them to act. So we’re asking you to help us count every single girl out loud,” says their their website.
In a partnership with Google-owned media giant YouTube, The One campaign is asking anyone, absolutely anyone, to claim a number between 1 and 130,000,000 and record a short video of themselves speaking for girls’ education. It’s a massive crowdsourced public service announcement and if it’s ever completed, the collection will take at least eight years to watch, probably more.
Fittingly, they gave #1 to Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani woman who was shot in the head as a child for insisting on her right to attend school. This autumn, she began her first classes at Harvard University.
“Number one, because every girl, every single one has the right to go to school,” she says in her seven-second clip.
Youtube’s CEO, Susan Wojcicki, chose the number 117,000 for her video, based on UNICEF’s statistics that it costs $1.17 a day on average to education a girl in a developing country. Her message is about how many paths are opened to women by access to education.
Other celebrities who have already added their voices include Charlize Theron, Gisele and Tom Brady, Elizabeth Banks, and Connie Britton. As of October 11, the project has received nearly 17,000 submissions, over a solid day of video. Which doesn’t even approach the total scale.
And that’s the point of this project. A hundred and thirty million is a number that’s hard to conceptualize. It’s impossible to picture that many faces. But this project, under the hashtag #GirlsCount, will be a collection of 130 million faces, 130 million voices, and 130 million participants who will be a part of something larger, something impossible to ignore.
Photo: Girls in a school in rural India. Credit: CRS PHOTO / Shutterstock.com