“Poetry is how I turn ugliness into art.”
Senna’s family struggles to survive in a bleak Peruvian mining town. Her father has dreams for her, and insists she go to school. There, she discovers the transformative power of poetry. Her passion and talent seem to ensure she’ll have a better future, and be the success her father dreamed she’d be.
Marie Arana tells Senna’s story. Born in Lima to a Peruvian father and an American mother, the author, editor and journalist is deeply engaged in both worlds. A writer of fiction and memoir, Arana has dedicated herself to explaining each culture to the other. Her commitment to Peru, and to the struggles of the disadvantaged there, permeates her work.
Peru is the most prosperous country in the film. But that fact can be deceptive. For many indigenous Peruvians, education remains an unattainable luxury. This is especially true for girls in the mountains and jungles where so much of Peru’s prosperity, in the form of natural resources, is being pulled from the ground.
Senna’s story is narrated by Academy Award-nominee Salma Hayek, who says, “Many women around the world continue to struggle for equality in education. I hope Girl Rising raises the visibility on a global level for this fundamental issue.”
With CARE’s help, Senna’s family moved off the mountaintop to a city with better housing and schools. Senna completed high school and is currently in college, studying business, engineering and computer science. In 2015, she gave birth to a beautiful daughter and is now more determined than ever to complete her education. Her mother helps care for the baby, so Senna can focus on her studies and give Ariana the best future possible. Ariana makes her feel strong, Senna told us. Senna’s younger brother, Henry, is in school and doing well.