60 Million Girls

October 23 to November 23, 2014
Free admission
Entrance: 2200, Crescent Street.

The Museum is pleased to join with the 60 million girls Foundation to affirm children’s right to education. Founded in 2006 here in Montreal by a group of talented, creative and energetic women of all ages, the Foundation has since invested $1.9 million in 17 projects in 13 countries. These projects have directly touched the lives of nearly 15,000 girls and boys. The projects the Foundation supports are varied: building primary and secondary schools, training teachers, distributing supplies and equipment, taking on tuition fees, supporting activities which promote school attendance by girls (sanitation projects, daycares, courses for teenagers, girls’ clubs), providing study grants, organizing leadership sessions, mentoring, instituting community support and awareness programmes, providing psychosocial support, using new technologies for learning, etc. The Museum and the 60 million girls Foundation have a deep common bond: that of wanting to change the world as best we can by promoting the fundamental right to education.

To learn more about the Department of education and community programs

Educating Girls

Education saves mothers’ lives.

If all women had basic primary education, maternal deaths would be reduced by two-thirds, thereby saving the lives of 189,000 women each year.

Education saves children’s lives.

If every woman in poor countries completed her primary education, the child mortality rate would fall by one-sixth, thereby saving nearly a million lives each year. If all these women had a secondary education, this rate would be cut in half, saving three million lives.

Education encourages tolerance.

Education helps people understand democracy, helps promote tolerance and the confidence underlying it, and motivates citizens to participate in their society’s political life.

Some childhood illnesses are preventable, but not without education.

Simple solutions, such as mosquito netting to fight malaria and clean water, can prevent some of the worst childhood illnesses, but only if mothers are taught how to use them.

Equality in education improves employment opportunities and contributes to economic growth.

Over 40 years, per capita revenue would be 23% higher in a country with educational equality.


The goal of this reportage is to better understand the impact of girls’ education not only on their development but also on the collective changes they bring about in their communities. The approach chosen for this reportage is to enable the voices of the most vulnerable and marginalized girls to be heard and their presence to be known through photographs. Paying tribute to these girls, who are true everyday heroes, was our artistic and pedagogical mission throughout the reportage. Using portraits and life stories, we wanted to highlight the girls’ determination to succeed and their self-confidence despite adverse circumstances. For us, these girls were truly inspiring.

In the community of Kamoda in India, the reportage focused on the thirty girls in the only mixed primary school in the village. Twenty-nine black-andwhite portraits were created. One girl did not want her picture taken.

In the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya we visited three primary schools: Bahr-El-Naam, Kaduguli and Horseed. Ten girls per school volunteered for the portrait sessions. A total of thirty portraits was created.

In the community of Wuchale in Ethiopia, the reportage led us to five schools: Gimbichu, Kara, Geba Robi, Abu Yifech and Illu Itaya. A total of twenty-eight portraits of girls were created. Two portraits of mothers were added, along with two mother-daughter portraits.

Note: Photography consent forms were signed by the girls who were adults. For girls who were minors, the forms were signed by their parents, school principal, teacher or the programme head of the local partner agency. As for the life stories, the interviews took place in the presence of the programme head, who provided simultaneous translation.

This photo-reportage was carried out pro bono for the 60 million girls Foundation by Manuela Clément-Frencia, Dominique and Maria Cabrelli, Arvind Eyunni and Jean-François Lemire in India in March 2012, in Kenya in May 2012 and in Ethiopia in June 2014.

“Meeting the girls supported in their development by the Foundation was the most enlightening, human and inspiring way for me to better understand their daily lives, to envision the future and to share their dreams. Through these encounters I felt as if I was touching the very essence of the person in her dignity. Her dignity but also our own. A dignity expressed through the ability of communities to make decisions which will have a positive impact. But also our dignity in championing the right to education, without which no fundamental human right can be exercised.”

Manuela Clément-Frencia
Member of the executive committee and
founding member of the 60 million girls Foundation