International Girl Child Day: 5 young girls that are breaking stereotypes and creating a better world
Photo credits: Bye Bye Plastic

October 10 is celebrated to honour the rights of every girl on Earth as a human being. Started almost 25 years ago, men and women from 200 countries came together for the Fourth World Conference on Women and decided to celebrate the 11th of October as International Girl Child Day.

The 2019 theme for International Girl Child Day is ‘GirlForce: Unscripted and Unstoppable’. UN human rights experts have acknowledged and applauded the efforts and courage of young girls from different parts of the globe to bring into focus the pressing issues the world community is facing.

To remember and celebrate the achievements and hard-work of several girls and women, we have listed five girls that are breaking stereotypes and creating change to make this world a better place for living beings.

Samaira Mehta - The cool coder

Samaira Mehta, an 11-year-old Indian-origin American girl surprised the world when she created CodderBunnyz, her first board game for teaching basic coding to younger children. At the age of 10, she was offered opportunities by Microsoft and Google, the top tech companies in the world.

It all started when her father, an IIT-Delhi alumnus, did a simple code prank on her. He introduced Samiara to the science of coding when she was 6 years old. Since then, she has spoken at several events as one of the youngest entrepreneurs in the world.

This super-smart girl is of course also aware of the gender inequality existing within our society. She has voiced her concern on stereotypes faced by women in education, especially women studying STEM and technology. With her initiative, CodderBunnyz, she wishes to bridge the gender gap in technical education.

Greta Thunberg - Climate Activist

Anyone who has a smartphone and a working data scheme and still doesn’t know about the force that is Greta Thunberg probably lives under a rock.

The global face of youth activism for climate change, Greta Thunberg, is often seen on the streets holding protests or holding the powerful accountable with her speeches. Her movement is opening people’s eyes to what she and her generation see behind the masque of unfulfilled climate change policies, a non-existent future.

She has been talked about by world politicians, global environmental activist and youngsters across the globe for her courage and resilience. Several conservatives and conspiracy theorists have verbally attacked her for voicing her opinions.

Greta Thunberg has inspired millions of students worldwide to take part in the ‘Fridays for Future’ to protest the inadequate and lack of effective measures being taken to slow down climate change.

Mari Copeny - Flint water crisis

The city of Flint in Michigan, USA, has been hit by one of the greatest water crises in the past years. Then 8-year-old Mari Copeny wrote a letter to Obama, the former President of USA, asking him to meet the Flint activists in Washington D.C. She has diligently worked for the community in crisis.

In 2017, she partnered with the organization Pack Your Back and raised $10,000, contributing school supplies and 1,000 backpacks to Flint students. The same year the collaborators were able to raise $13,000 to provide toys and games to kids in Flint for the holidays.

Payal Jangid - Child Rights Advocate

The very brave and inspiring Payal Jangid from Rajasthan, India is a child slavery survivor. She has since been fighting for the rights of children in her village.

She is the head of Child Parliament, an organization that holds meetings to discuss ‘various issues like lack of separate toilets for girls in schools and the need to stop child marriage’. She campaigns door-to-door to raise awareness on the importance of supportive parents for children to grow in a healthy environment.

To quote her, “In our society education is not given much importance but it is my duty to explain to the older generation how schooling is very much needed. We formed (the Child Parliament) to speak about the problems faced by our peers and why we need school.”

Melati and Isabel - Bye Bye Plastic

Melati and Isabel, the sisters from Bali, started their organization called, ‘Bye Bye Plastic’ to get people in Bali to say no to plastic bags. The sisters were inspired to create change after listening to Nelson Mandela, Lady Diana, and Mahatma Gandhi in school.

The Bye Bye Plastic organization is currently a 25-person staff and board of directors with teams in fifteen different countries working on reducing the use of plastic on a global scale. They initially started by organizing beach clean-up drives, and then they went to file petitions with the government to act against the plastic menace.

The organization has been able to bring change on the ground. In 2016, they lobbied for the Bali airport to stop using plastic altogether and were successful. The Island of Bali was declared plastic-free after their campaign.

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