Little Brag: Amy’s Letter Got Published in the New York Times!

Amy wrote a letter to the editor and the Times published it. Nice! (Scroll down on the linked page to see Amy’s letter in context, below the Libyan letter.)

Local support for smart girls

Re “This smart girl says thank you” (May 23): Nicholas Kristof celebrates a success story of girls’ education — and rightfully so. But it’s important to remember that not every “prodigious talent” will be as “tough” as Phung. I once knew another smart girl who got a chance to study. Her name was Shanta. She hoped to return to her village in Nepal as a doctor. And, then, just a year shy of graduation, Shanta took her own life. Was she depressed? If so, she had nowhere to go. According to the World Health Organization, Nepal has fewer than five mental health professionals per million people (the United States has 500) and suicide is now the leading cause of death for women of childbearing age. Thanks to investments from well-meaning Westerners, Shanta — like Phung— got an opportunity, but didn’t have the right kind of support on the ground. So, yes, NGOs and donors should celebrate their victories, but then get back to work thinking about ways to alleviate the trauma of change that accompanies the opportunities they provide.

Amy Benson, Seattle

The writer is director of the documentary film “The Girl Who Knew Too Much.”

Here’s the Nicholas Kristof column to which Amy’s responding.


  1. Nancy McClelland
    June 11, 2014

    Wow, amazing job getting the word out — especially in a context where hopefully many who have the resources and education to do something can be made aware of the situation. Maybe their next step will be to look you up, watch the TedX Talk, and take action.

  2. Chris
    June 12, 2014

    A smart letter and a great plug. Great job keeping the word out there and pushing. The snowball is rolling. C


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