The Call for Stories

Renee Montagne talks with The Kitchen Sisters about the new NPR series Hidden World of Girls and invites listeners to call in with their story ideas.


The idea for this series was inspired by reading the obituary of Lula Mae Hardaway, Stevie Wonder’s Mother, a sharecropper’s daughter, a girl forced into prostitution, a teenage single mother whose young blind boy was discovered singing on a street corner in Detroit by Berry Gordy Jr., a determined woman who along with her son, received the Grammy for writing Signed, Sealed Delivered.  Hers was a story we knew we wanted to tell. The series was inspired again when we watched a young 16 year old charanga player in an all-girl high school mariachi band competition in San Antonio, playing for the love of tradition, for a sense of belonging and for a scholarship, the first girl in her family to play an instrument, the first to dream of going to college. We knew this was a story we had to chronicle. And when they opened a new beauty school in Kabul, we looked at each other and thought again about “The Hidden World of Girls.” Over the last few years we’ve been collecting small stories, shards of sound, and images that have helped us imagine this series. Here are a few inspirations.


Fadimata Walett Oumar, leader of the band Tartit from the Tombouctou Region of Mali, talks about the life of the nomadic Taureg people, coming of age and attitudes about love and divorce.

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Sophie Fish, a thirteen year old in New York City, talks about creating a Ritual Box with her girlfriends.

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Artist Claudia Bernardi reads from her diary describing her work with her sister Patricia, a member of the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team, exhuming skeletons from a mass grave in El Mozote, El Salvador.

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Tiina Urm is one of the initiators of the “Let’s Do It” campaign in Estonia—a group who organized  50,000 Estonians to do in one day what it would have taken the government 3 years and 22 million euros to do – clean up 10,000 tons of illegal garbage littering the countryside.

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Funding for this series comes from:

National Endowment for the Arts National Endowment for the Arts Corporation for Public Broadcasting

Further Support Provided By:

NPR Kitchen Sisters

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