GRANT #316:

Survivor Girl Ukulele Band Project

Our Next MacArthur-CNN Hero–Nobel Winner? The Survivor Girl Ukulele Band & The Woman Who (Literally) Dreamed Of Rescuing Them

We know AWESOME when we see it. As it turns out, we also have a pretty good sense of what makes GENIUSES and HEROES and NOBEL PRIZE WINNERS.

Maybe Laurie Kallevig will be up there one day too, telling how it’s been almost twenty years since she first heard about how girls were forced into prostitution in India. One morning, she woke up with a clear conviction that she was to “rescue and restore” young women trapped in that life.

Um, we don’t know how she got from “rescue and restore” to “learn how to play a ukulele and go back to India and form a Survivor Girl Ukulele Band” but that’s what Laurie did. “I went to India and brought a bunch of ukuleles to a shelter home for rescued girls. I help them learn how to play ukulele. It’s not easy! But as they succeed in learning to play the ukulele, they also learn how to learn, they learn that they have a voice, and they learn confidence and empowerment through music.”

It’s a Genius idea because the members of the Survivor Girl Ukulele Band are part of something bigger than themselves. They’re part of a band. And when they practice and perform together they feel smart and talented and beautiful in their own way. Our Awesome Without Borders grant will help with everything from a sound system to new outfits.

We also introduced Laurie to our favorite TED speaker, author of The Art of Asking, and purveyor of the ukulele arts, Amanda Palmer. In a serendipitous confluence of events, Amanda has just released a powerful video to address the topic of sexual exploitation called “Mr. Weinstein Will See You Now.” (<– NSFW!) Amanda and Laurie are both working on their next releases but only one will feature the uke. Get the first Survivor Girl Ukulele Band CD here and play YOUR ukulele!

Follow along with Laurie and Survivor Girl Ukulele Band Project at their website and on Facebook.