“Our time is now—our rights, our future”

International Day of the Girl

Tomorrow on the 11th of October, we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the International Day of the Girl.

In a time where it feels like it’s especially difficult being a young girl, we feel that it’s important to empower and honour girls and young women across the globe. Even now, girls around the world are still facing countless challenges and limited opportunities to show their potential. Education, mental health, and wellbeing are just some of the difficulties that young girls face today. However, with hardship comes resilience, innovation, inspiration, and determination. When given the right opportunities and the chance to show their skills and their passions, girls can achieve anything and defy stereotypes. Girls and young women are now taking over businesses, leading, and making changes.

We are still buzzing about the Lionesses bringing it home at the Women’s Euro 2022! Not only is their victory a big turning point in England’s football history, being the first major tournament title for any England team since 1966, it’s also a major inspiration for young girls. England coach Sarina Wiegman was quoted saying: “I think we really made a change. I think this tournament has done so much for the game but also for society and women in society in England, but I also think in Europe and across the world and I hope that will make a [bigger] change too.” This year, UEFA has set up a legacy programme, designed to encourage more girls and women to becoming involved in football, and has since garnered some incredible results, with over 14,600 new players and 145 new female coaches who have been recruited and trained. With this victory, we are slowly closing the gap between “women’s football” and just football. To see such excitement and praise for the young women on the team is such an inspiration for young girls everywhere.

 For this year’s International Day of the Girl, we would like to talk about a very special fifteen year old girl, who transformed thousands of lives when she was just seven years old, Mari Copeny. “Philanthropist, activist, future president.”.

Seven years ago, the Flint Water Crisis began. During a budget crunch, the city of Flint changed their water source, and cut some corners on safety measures. This caused lead to start seeping into the water supply, and the drinking water became contaminated with lead and Legionella bacteria. This caused an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease that killed 12 people. Mari Copney decided that this wasn’t good enough. At seven years old, she wrote a letter to President Obama, explaining the situation the town was in and what could be done about it. This in turn prompted the President to visit the city to see it for himself. Ultimately, Mari’s letter triggered $100 million in relief to be given to the city of Flint to try and fix the water crisis. Even at such a young age, Mari had the determination to make a change, and forced the leaders to confront their mistakes, take ownership of them and fix them. She was able to give the people of Flint a voice and fight for their rights.

Her achievements didn’t stop there. Three years later, in 2017, Mari became a national youth ambassador to the Women’s March, the youngest ambassador at the event. In 2016 and 2017, Mari raised funds in partnership with the non-profit organization Pack Your Back to purchase backpacks and school supplies for Flint children. In 2018, after the state of Michigan stopped providing free bottled water to Flint residents, Mari raised over $280,000 and distributed over a million bottles of water. In 2019, she partnered with a water filtration company to provide water filters to Flint and other communities dealing with toxic water.

Despite her young age, Mari has made a huge name for herself, in the name of helping others. She is passionate about doing the right thing and eradicating inequality. We’re sure that this is just the beginning of Mari’s remarkable achievements, and it’s clear that she is a huge vision for young girls everywhere who also want to make a difference. Even just writing a letter can have an enormous impact.

“You are never too young/too small to change the world.” – Mari Copeny

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