In celebration of the UN’s International Day of the Girl, MALA partnered up with Loyola University Chicago’s Center for the Human Rights of Children and Picture Motion. A powerful screening of the film, What Tomorrow Brings, created by filmmaker Beth Murphy was viewed by over 65 attendees. The film followed the Zabuli School for girls in Deh’Subz, Afghanistan, known as the New Kabul City.In a remote village in Afghanistan is an all-female school, founded and led by spirited humanitarian Razia Jan. In a nation where education for young women is difficult to access and the dropout numbers are high, Jan puts literacy at the forefront, encouraging the girls in their pursuit of knowledge, independence and understanding. Her initiatives are progressive, and her young students embrace the opportunities to learn about their history in hopes of building a better future for themselves and their country.


The film was emotionally moving, and connected on a human level with the viewers. Murphy artfully and compassionately captured the love the students had for education and for their teachers. While the threat of a Taliban poisoning or an unwanted marriage always lingered, the Zabuli school’s advocates remained resilient against other forms of violence against girls. The film covered various factors that address girls’ rights, including:

  • Inequitable access to safe education for girls
  • Violence against women
  • Child marriage

At the conclusion of the screening, a panel of speakers shared their opinions and related the film to their experiences. Dr. Marcia Hermansen, head of Loyola’s Islamic World Studies program, praised the film for presenting the complexity and the layered barriers that girl students in Afghanistan encounter.  Isra Omar, a native from Somaliland, shared her perspective on coming to American from a war-torn region, and how education transformed her life. The audience also had an opportunity to engage with the panel and share their thoughts on the film and the broader issues surrounding girl’s education and women/girls’ rights. This film screening is part of the series of films MALA is presenting this season honoring girls and calling for their empowerment.

What Tomorrow Brings will be airing on PBS on October 31st! Tune in to catch this spectacular film on television.


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