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This Forsyth County student is fighting for girls around the world on Capitol Hill
Poorvaja Rao Joganpalli
Poorvaja Rao Joganpalli, a senior, was able to meet with Woodall to discuss HR 2153, also known as the Keeping Girls in School Act, a measure that focuses on removing restrictions to education for girls in other countries. - photo by For the FCN

A Lambert High School student has teamed up with U.S. Rep Rob Woodall to get the congressman’s support for a bill to help girls across the world attend school.

Poorvaja Rao Joganpalli, a senior, was able to meet with Woodall to discuss HR 2153, also known as the Keeping Girls in School Act, a measure that focuses on removing restrictions to education for girls in other countries.

“It’s a bipartisan bill,” Joganpalli said. “It’s basically to ensure that U.S. aid is actually addressing the barriers for girls overseas who can’t get an education because right now there’s, I think, more than 100 million girls that have barriers attending school.”

Joganpalli said the bill has passed the House onto the Senate.

The meeting was actually the second time Woodall and Joganpalli have discussed issues after meeting in 2018 to discuss a bill helping refugee girls get an education.

“He was very receptive to it because I met with him before, so obviously I have a track record talking about legislation,” she said. “He liked the idea, but a main point we discussed a lot was how people, if they receive this help, how they will react to it, because obviously everybody has their societal issues.”

Both bills were pushes from Girl Up, a United Nations campaign “dedicated to securing equal opportunities for adolescent girls in developing countries.

“I started the Lambert Girl Up club, which was the first one in Forsyth County in 2017,” Joganpalli said. “After I started that, I started getting in touch with the headquarters with other girls across the world. There’s people in India, people in Africa, people in Europe, all people who are trying to support girls’ education, support girls’ security abroad and things like that.”

Joganpalli said she is planning to major in biology and minor in political science in college, which she hopes leads to a career with the World Health Organization.

She said the experience has given her a deeper interest in politics and has helped her realize how to pursue other goals.

“Before I started the Girl Up program at my high school, I had an interest in politics, but I really never knew about how legislation gets passed or how… you represent yourself in front of people or talk to people,” she said. “By meeting different people and talking about different things, it’s like I’ve had a different perspective. Also, I learned how to advocate for myself as far as advocating for other things. It’s just really eye-opening how legislation passes through.”