Girl Rising is a groundbreaking film which tells the stories of 9 extraordinary girls from 9 countries, written by 9 celebrated writers and narrated by 9 renowned actresses. As one of the film’s impact partners, Room to Read is honored to be featured in the film’s second chapter which tells the story of a Nepali girl named Suma who is supported by Room to Read’s Girls’ Education program. The film tells the emotional story of how Suma spent six years of her life as a Kamlari (indentured servant) and when she was rescued, education allowed Suma to change her life’s path.

Girl Rising is a powerful and innovative new feature film that is part of 10x10’s global campaign to educate and empower girls. The film, by Academy Award-nominated director Richard E. Robbins and produced by award-winning former ABC News journalists of The Documentary Group and Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Productions, premiered in the U.S. on March 7, 2013 and was broadcast by CNN Films in June, 2013.

Room to Read is a proud partner of the 10x10 campaign and Girl Rising film. Learn more about the film.


Today, Suma is the epitome of a thriving secondary school student, but her life has been filled with struggle. The only daughter born to illiterate parents in rural Nepal, Suma was contracted into indentured servitude at only six years old, enduring six years of labor and abuse in another family’s home—trapped with thousands of other young girls in Nepal’s illegal Kamlari system.

Despite her difficult past, Suma’s story is one of triumph. After being rescued from her life as a Kamlari, she was accepted into Room to Read’s Girls’ Education program, enrolled in a bridge course and joined the 7th grade at the age of 16. Through the program Suma receives mentorship, life skills training and academic support to help her succeed in school and navigate the challenges that lie ahead. She even developed the confidence to confront her parents about their decision to favor her brothers. “I said to my mother: you gave birth to your sons and you gave birth to me—why discriminate?” she says

Suma dreams of a career helping the girls in her community overcome the challenges they face, and is well on her way to achieving it.

More about Suma:

From Nepal to New York City » | Photo Diary: Suma in New York » | Live at Lincoln Center » | In Her Own Words » | Meeting Some of Nepal's Extraordinary Girls » | An Update on Suma from Nepal » |

Learn More

Room to Read and Girl Rising have created tools to help you host events that will inspire your community and create meaningful impact for girls. Learn more about the issue, watch additional films on Nepal and check out the middle and high school student curriculum.

Additional Films:

Kamlari is an illegal—but still widely-accepted tradition in Nepal, whereby parents contract their daughters into indentured servitude for several years. In Nepal’s Bardiya district, more than 600 ex-Kamlari are currently enrolled in our Girls’ Education program.

Meet Manjushree Thapa, the Nepalese author who interpreted Suma’s story for Girl Rising. In the video, Manju shares her impressions from her first meeting with Suma, and her wish for Nepal’s young women.


Girl Rising provides teachers with a unique opportunity to educate students about the issues surrounding, and the impact of, girls' education in the developing world.

In Room to Read's Girls’ Education Yearbook, nine girls from Asia and Africa share their stories about their dreams for their future now that a world of possibilities has been unlocked through education.


Room to Read's Girls' Education program supports more than 20,000 girls in nine countries to complete secondary school with the skills necessary to negotiate key life decisions.

Host your own Girl Rising screening and use these great donation cards to support our Girls' Education program.

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