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Summer Newsletter 2015       |   facebook   |   @Connecther   |   instagram

Mark Your Calendar Everyone! 

We're excited to announce our annual event this October: 

-- "The Power of Women & Girls Telling Their Own Stories" -- 

an evening of inspiration, discussion and cinema!

Please join us on Thursday, Oct. 29th from 7 to 9:30 PM in Austin, TX at the Waller Ballroom beginning at 7:00 pm. We're also incredibly honored to have guest speakers including: Magatte Wade (Founder of Tiossan), Elizabeth Avellan (producer and cofounder of Troublemaker Studios) and Khalida Brohi, founder of Sughar and TEDGlobal Speaker.

Tickets: For additional information and to RSVP, please visit our event page or contact for sponsorship or direct email RSVP to to save your seat (or to learn more!) 

Please share with any friends, colleagues or family who may be interested to support our work to advance women and girls globally. We look forward to seeing you in October!


The Girls Impact the World Film Festival 2015:  A Recap!

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Connecther & the Harvard College Social Innovation Collaborative hosted the 2015 Girls Impact the World Awards Ceremony at Harvard University on March 28, 2015.


Ara Parikh, Lila Igram and Kerry Hammond, the GITWFF co-founders!

A Recap:  

This year’s Girls Impact the World Film Festival featured the very best in documentary, animation and storytelling from some of the brightest, most compelling and accomplished women from around the world. Young filmmakers, industry professionals, musicians and academics took part in an unforgettable evening which truly reminded us that together, we can advance women and girls globally. The Festival simply provides a forum for their voices to be heard and the messages to be made clear.



                Alyssa Moore of the Harvard College Social Innovation Collaborative (on right)

Sarah Khan, an incredible filmmaker and Green IS award-winner for her short entitled “The Ripple Effect” kicked off the evening with an inspiring message and call to action. She urged: “We want people to use these films as a tool for social change.” Sarah continued with compelling words to a full crowd to describe her experience at GITWFF

What I love about this film festival is that it gives you these real, authentic human stories behind the statistics that you hear about everyday. And what I love most, is it gives innovative solutions to problems, and that’s what we need most. It has made me love and enjoy telling stories about my country that people haven’t heard about it.

Kirsten Kiwi Smith Kirsten "Kiwi" Smith speaking at GITWFF 2015 at Harvard.

Kirstin “Kiwi” Smith, an American writer and producer – most notably acknowledged for 10 Things I Hate About You and Legally Blonde – spoke passionately to the audience about women in the film industry, her experience and dedication to the craft of filmmaking and writing. 

There’s a real strong desire right now to give female writers and directors a chance. Because apparently women really like movies and like to watch movies with women in them. So, I’m encouraged for the future.” 

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Dr. Meena Vendal, Connecther Board President at GITWFF 2015

Connecther Board President, Dr. Meena Vendal eloquently introduced the GITWFF 2015 second runner up film Emerging by Jaci Herron, "Emerging is about leadership, empowerment, believing in yourself and giving yourself a chance. By exploring the beliefs and inspiration of these three friends and characters in the film; Jaci presents a story, and film, that any girl can do what she believes in."

A very special performance by Michael Einziger (co-writer and guitarist of the alternative rock band, Incubus) and Anne Marie Simpson (accomplished violinist for mainstream bands and original motion pictures) serenaded the audience with Bach inspired music to bluegrass, then switching to an original composition which Simpson composed for Jethro Tull.


 Anne Marie Simpson & Michael Einziger (of Incubus) perform at GITWFF 2015!

One thing I loved watching these films, is there is nothing more beautiful or brave than a girl telling an original story – so we’re going to improvise,” said Simpson. 

Einziger and Simpson concluded their performance with a sensational interpretation of “Blue Skies” echoed from the award-winning film screened and directed by Amanda Neuhouser, “ISIS Crisis.” The inspiring Harvard professor, author and filmmaker, Joanna Lipper, acknowledged all the participating young females and paid a huge tribute to the importance of film-making, education, and social entrepreneurship for women. 


Eloise DeJoria with the 2015 GITWFF winners!  From left: Sarah Khan, Jaci Herron, Eloise DeJoria, Jacqueline de Gorter, Gloria Hong, Amanda Neuhouser, Liliana Caracoza

To end the evening, Connecther’s generous and passionate supporter, Eloise DeJoria acknowledged all the brilliant women who submitted films and applauded their work which beautifully showcases the issues facing young girls and women globally. "There's nothing more special to me that touches my heart than empowering these smart girls to change the world.  There is so much about the truth and honesty in documentary film and this heals my soul."

Eloise presented awards to winners. You can see all winners here.

To get more information or submit a film for GITWFF 2016, please follow this link!

CALL FOR: Formal High School and University Host GITW Chapter and Recruitment

Do you want to be part of a global network of organizations, schools businesses and more to become an official chapter + host a simultaneous day of screenings and discourse about women and girls, while advancing the mission and vision of Connecther?

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Well, we have a very exciting opportunity and announcement for you!

Launching in March 2016, Connecther will continue to expand its mission to advance women and girls globally with the unveil of “Girls Impact the World Global Chapters” -- an opportunity where anyone, anywhere can support and share stories about women and girls through film around the world. Already confirmed in 15 cities and 9 countries, we’re recruiting hosts to be part of this global network of people and organizations to celebrate community, creativity and innovation…

Taking place on March 8, International Women’s Day (IWD), Connecther will coordinate with individuals, organizations, corporations, schools and more to host a simultaneous day of screenings and discourse about women and girls, while supporting the mission and vision of Connecther.

Would you be interested to join? We’d love for you to consider becoming a formal chapter at your place of study!


  1. Contact us! to see how you can get involved

  2. Find a faculty advisor

  3. Get 10 friends who support Connecther’s mission to join

  4. Create a simple budget

Your Donations Will Be Matched!

Decorative Candle Production

Operating in the African country of Zimbabwe, Vanavevhu (Shona for “children of the soil”) provides support in the way of food, health care and education, as well as targeted training, to promote the financial self-sufficiency of child-headed households affected by the AIDS pandemic and the economic and political crisis in the Matabeleland region of Zimbabwe. Vanavevhu is dedicated to the financial self sufficiency of child headed families! 

Donate to support family head of households in Zimbabwe by supporting Connecther's "Enterprising Youth-led Social Initiative"! Thanks to the Stahl Family Foundation, your donation will be matched 100 % (up to $2500).

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Nikki Reed Joins GITWFF Panel of Judges!

Best known for her role as Rosalie Hale in the TWILIGHT SAGA, Nikki Reed won critical acclaim for her first feature THIRTEEN which she starred in and co-wrote. She just joined the cast of Fox’s popular TV Series SLEEPY HOLLOW in which she’ll play the role of historical figure Betsy Ross. Nikki is currently writing a recurring beauty and nutrition column for Nikki is an activist and philanthropist who works tirelessly to help people, animals and the environment. We welcome her to the Connecther family and know that she will be a great role model for our aspiring filmmakers!
Connecther Parnters with Hearts on Fire and Skype in the Classroom to Inspire the Next Generation of Compassionate Global Leaders!

Through our involvement with Hearts on Fire, Connecther has been invited to be a featured partner with Microsoft's "Skype in the Classroom" initiative. This means hundreds if not thousands of students from across the world will learn from and be engaged in the work we are doing to advance women and girls globally!  Email to learn more!
meca scholarships
You Funded It!

With your help, Connecther funded 4 scholarships for girls in Gaza! 

"This scholarship means a lot to me. It changed my life for the better. Now I go to the university, study hard, meet new people. The scholarship gives me and my family hope for a better future for us." Areej Abu Moaamer. 

Environmental Workshops for Women in Rural Pakistan!

IMG_4243Join us in supporting a workshop aimed at promoting environmentally friendly activities and lifestyle for limited income women in rural settings.  It'll teach simple and affordable activities the women can do at home, such as making composts, organic farming and rainwater harvesting. Sarah Khan, winner of GITWFF 2015 Green IS Award will be using her films, slideshows and pamphlets as part of the workshop to educate women and girls.

Link to Support Project!

GITWFF 2013 Winner, Rebecca Dharmapalan on cover of Affinity Magazine

rebeccaRebecca Dharmapalan, an Oakland, CA native, has been busy since winning the Girls Impact the World Film Festival 2013. Her work is primarily focused around the issue of Commercially Sexually Exploited Children in her city. Rebecca exposed this issue in her first film, "International Boulevard a Documentary," which won grand prize at Girls Impact the World film festival held at Harvard University in February of 2013. Rebecca's continued her work, becoming Chair of Oakland Youth Commission and creating the first ever CSEC task force in the country. Through the Youth Commission, Rebecca worked on a citywide billboard campaign to create awareness of child sex trafficking and reach children who were trapped in "the life."  Congrats Rebecca for been a TEDxTeen speaker and for being on the cover of Affinity Magazine coming in October 2015!

Sarah Khan's GITW Film showcased at Austin Film Festival 2015!

Y95A0659 2Connecther submitted several of our GITW films to this year's Austin Film Festival, including "The Ripple Effect". Sarah Khan's film, The Ripple Effect, was chosen by the Austin Film Festival (AFF) through their Young Filmmaker Competition to be featured in their Showcase during AFF 2015. Her film made the Top 7 as well (the only documentary) and is going on to the next round where it will be reviewed by judges and one will be chosen as the winner.  Congrats Sarah!

Join Connecther and Stand #withMalala

Stand w MalalaVery excitingly, Connecther has recently teamed up with the Malala Fund as an official partner for its Stand #withMalala campaign: a global 12-month social action campaign that will accompany the documentary, HE NAMED ME MALALA - set for film release on October 9th (in honor of International Day of the Girl, October 11). Through this, we believe our ethos and work truly complements the vision and objectives at the Malala Fund, particularly how urgent the issue of girls' education is and what a difference we can all make if we stand up for girls. Below are a few ways you may consider to be involved.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: October 2nd: In honor of the film releasing in New York and LA this day, sign on to our special #withMalala online action released on October 9 - 11: We would love to encourage you all -- your friends, networks, school groups, places of worship, etc -- to join in the Stand and support this film by attending a viewing -- locations and times here.  

Share on Social Media:

 1. Pledge to See HE NAMED ME MALALA in Theaters for International Day of the Girl!
Pledge to see HE NAMED ME MALALA, a film about Malala Yousafzai's life and her fight for girls' education, in honor of International Day of the Girl weekend Oct. 9 - 11. Stand #withMalala and girls everywhere. 
2. Stand #withMalala. Watch the official trailer for HE NAMED ME MALALA, a documentary about Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai's life, story and personal journey as an education activist, on now. @malalafund 
3. Pledge to see HE NAMED ME MALALA in honor of #DayoftheGirl Oct. 9 - 11 to stand #withMalala & support #girlsed @connecther.


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