2010 UN studies found that 2/3 of the 130 million children not in school are girls. The Cross Stitch Project chose India for our pilot: where the unprecedented growth in the last decade has left girls out, especially in education. The most recent UNESCO report notes that 15 to 24 year old females in India are twice as likely to be illiterate as males.
Many NGO’s have been working on education for girls and skills based training for marginalized women, but recent studies have found that without confidence and rights based training women in societies where gender discrimination is prevalent do not succeed in advanced education or entrepreneurial ventures.
As we become an increasingly global society and economy understanding the broad problems of globalization are becoming the basis for social business models. Our 21st economy demands communication, digital literacy, cooperative and problem solving skills at high levels.
Additionally, a number of recent studies in the U.S., notably “How Children Succeed,” written by Paul Tough, a former editor of the New York Times Magazine, are finding that developing confidence, professionalism and non-cognitive coping skills are more important to student success than high academic achievement. Without supportive skills students from disadvantaged backgrounds who reach college will often dropout and remain trapped in the cycle of poverty.
This is why The Cross Stitch Project is invested in training girls to be strong, confident leaders who understand the power and technology of networking, the importance of self-expression and the rewards of civic engagement.
Media projects are a creative, energizing way to help girls build confidence and gain control of their own lives. The Cross Stitch Project provides access, instruction, and inspiration to do so. Our curriculum and mentorship network helps students build the skills to communicate effectively and cross-culturally, to understand teamwork and networks, and to find creative solutions to complex problems.
The Cross Stitch Project is an after school program for adolescent girls in grades 8 – 12 in the U.S. who work with girls affiliated with a partner NGO in the delveloping world.
Our pilot project has been with a small grassroots educational NGO in Kolkata,India. Using a curriculum that facilitates peer-to-peer communication using social media, video camera operation and editing workshops, and a shared techno-craft project, TCSP connects girls in the U.S. with girls in the slum communities of Kolkata, India. The program teaches young women:
The complexities of global information exchanges.
Strategies for using visual language to share ideas.
Techno-craft: hands on workshops that synthesize
traditional crafting techniques with digital skills.
Up to date technical skills using digital media and web
Building toward opportunities to use their creative,
entrepreneurial and media skills to give back in their
own communities and globally.
The Cross Stitch Project strives to create a growing network of smart, articulate, and engaged young women who will support and mentor each other as they advance in their lives and careers. Leveraging each other’s skills and abilities, these girls complete projects that prove they can change the world through communication, teamwork, and desire to succeed.
During this start-up phase we've worked in Atlanta with students from Grady High School, One Love Generation and the Atlanta Girls School.
Our current goals are to continue to run and support our program in Kolkata and to launch a digitial media learning hub in Atlanta to serve teens recruited on a competitive basis from area Public High Schools.
Co-Founders Phoebe Brown and Elizabeth Strickler are media scholars, educators and producers with the passion, connections, and drive to help young people innovate for change using the power of the web.
Underlying our individual project goals is a fundamental approach that promotes:
Creative expression, self-empowerment, and nurturing support for young people
Civic engagement, global understanding and service learning
The use of media and technology as a tool to advance Social, Economic, Educational, Gender and Civil Rights around the world.
Phoebe Brown, Executive Director/Co-Founder: An award-winning documentary and reality film producer, Ms. Brown holds an MFA in Digital Video and Photography from the Ernest Welch School of Art and Design at Georgia State University. Ms. Brown specializes in non-fiction media projects that give voice to marginalized communities. Her films creatively address injustice in the world through her production company, Unblinking Eye Films.
Phoebe represents The Cross Stitch Project (TCSP) in all professional capacities, establishing and sustaining partnerships with local and national organizations that align with the TCSP mission. She recruits all board members and staff, and monitors the growth and profitability of the operation.
Elizabeth Strickler, Education and Technology Director/Co-Founder: As Associate Director of Georgia State University's Digital Arts and Entertainment Lab, Ms. Strickler teaches Digital Post-Production and Producing Emerging Media. She holds a B.A. in Philosophy from Boston College and an MFA in Digital Filmmaking and Art from Georgia State University.
Elizabeth is responsible for creating and refining TCSP curriculum and developing partnerships with educational institutions. She researches trends in education effectiveness and recruits new talent as instructors and mentors in the program. As Technology Director, she is responsible for tracking trends and seeking ways to network and create content in the most efficient and meaningful manner.