Freida Pinto to girls: My voice is your voice

Story highlights

  • Actress Freida Pinto writes an open letter to girls of the world
  • "I will continue to use my voice as your voice," Pinto writes

Dear Girls of the World,

First of all I have to say: Congratulations! We have all come a long way from once being mistakenly called the inferior sex. I remember the first time I read Aristotle's view that a female is an incomplete male, "or as it were, a deformity." I was really offended and furious. The first thing that popped in my mind was, "We have to prove all our detractors wrong." But we definitely can't do that with 60 million of our girls out of school! So yes, we have come a long way, but we are still not there yet.

A wise friend recently told me: No child in the developing world has died directly due to the lack of education. They die due to illness, during childbirth, due to violence, poverty, etc. -- which is probably why the world hasn't yet understood the gravity of having more than 100 million children not in primary school, of which 60 million are girls.

 Freida Pinto

If you really think hard, you will realize that the way to end the cycle of poverty, reduce the number of teenage pregnancies and early marriage and many other ills that befall our girls is through education. An educated girl will marry later, will have fewer and healthier children, will educate her daughters and without a doubt her sons, will be self-sufficient and, most importantly, will have a voice. She will not only dream but also realize her dreams of becoming whoever she wants to be.

I am writing this letter to all of you girls, but especially appealing to those who have had the privilege of going to school. We need to use our educated voices to raise awareness in our families, communities, countries and the world and say we cannot and will not ignore our sisters anymore. They have the same rights as we do, and there can be no discrimination. We can and must hold our governments accountable and ask them to give us the answers and results we deserve.

Actress Frieda Pinto on 'Girls Rising'
Actress Frieda Pinto on 'Girls Rising'


    Actress Frieda Pinto on 'Girls Rising'


Actress Frieda Pinto on 'Girls Rising' 03:12
Pinto: Access to schools comes first
Pinto: Access to schools comes first


    Pinto: Access to schools comes first


Pinto: Access to schools comes first 03:00
'Girl Rising,' coming at 9 p.m. ET Sunday
'Girl Rising,' coming at 9 p.m. ET Sunday


    'Girl Rising,' coming at 9 p.m. ET Sunday


'Girl Rising,' coming at 9 p.m. ET Sunday 00:30

I am also writing this letter to all the boys -- fathers, brothers and husbands, friends who have supported us. I am grateful that you see us as just as important to the human race as our male counterparts. Your support and belief in us keeps us encouraged to keep powering on. Please keep it coming and please spread the word.

Finally, I write to those we want to affect with our voices positively: You have the right to an education. You have the right to grow up healthy, in safety, and with equal access to opportunity. I, and millions of your supporters across the globe, stand with you in the pursuit of equality. Change is coming; the world is listening.

I know that this movement -- your movement -- will grow in influence and scope. My promise to you: I will continue to use my voice as your voice. Together, we can ensure that girls everywhere can go to school and stay in school.

You hold our future in your hands. I believe in you.

With love and hope,

Freida Pinto

More: CNN's "Girl Rising"

Read more open letters

Open letter from Christiane Amanpour: It's time to power the world

Open letter from Queen Rania of Jordan: More than tiaras and cupcakes

How to help | Take action with 10x10

      Girl Rising

    • Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai is pictured holding a backpack in Birmingham, central England, on March 19, 2013 before returning to school for the first time since she was shot in the head by the Taliban in October 2012 for campaigning for girls' education. The 15-year-old said she had "achieved her dream" and was looking forward to meeting new friends at the independent Edgbaston High School for Girls in Birmingham, where she is now living. Malala was flown to Britain after the attack for surgery for her head injuries and underwent several operations as recently as last month

      Voice stronger, not silenced

      The school year started with a shooting. Now, Malala eyes a summer of speaking at the U.N. and telling her story in a new book.

      Watch an excerpt: 'Girl Rising' on CNN

      One girl with courage is a revolution. CNN Films' "Girl Rising" tells the stories of girls across the globe and the power of education to change the world.
    • Dear girls of the world ...

      What a queen, a correspondent, an activist and an actress have to say to girls everywhere? Read their open letters.
    • Suma, Nepal
"Change is like a song you can't hold back." 
Suma's brothers are sent to school, but her parents have no money for a daughter's education. Given into bonded servitude at age 6, Suma labors in the house of a master from before dawn until late at night. For years, the Nepali girl suffers in silence, until music gives her a voice. A stroke of luck and kindness gives Suma a chance to go to school -- and a crusader is born.

      How to help

      Are you inspired to help the cause of girls' education around the world?
    • Senna, Peru
"Poetry is how I turn ugliness into art."  
La Rinconada, Peru, is a bleak corner of the world that regularly turns out two things: gold from deep within its mountain, which is immediately sent far away; and despair, which remains. Senna's is 
the poorest of the poor mining families clinging to that mountain. Every day is a struggle. Yet, somehow, she was given two magnificent gifts: a father who named her for a warrior princess and insisted that she goes to school, and a talent with words. And when Senna discovers poetry, everything changes.

      More from Girl Rising

      Get more information about CNN Films' "Girl Rising" as well as the latest news and global voices on the topic of girls education.