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Girl Power helping feed, educate others globally

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Troy Shantz

A new nonprofit is meeting regularly to build on the $2,000 it’s already raised for girls in need around the world.

Which is pretty impressive considering its meetings must be adjourned before bedtime and scheduled around homework, piano lessons and cheerleading practice.

“That stuff doesn’t stop us from doing this,” assured nine-year-old Ally Campbell, one of the six-member group at Cathcart Boulevard School.

They call themselves Girl Power and have formed a chapter of “Because I am a Girl,” a global initiative through Plan International Canada.

The program aims to end gender inequality and promote girls’ rights everywhere – issues Girl Power members take very seriously.

“I’ve always dreamed about helping girls around the world because I get more than girls in Pakistan or India or wherever. I just wanted to help make a difference,” Ally Campbell said.

Ally’s mom, Julie Campbell, registered the group online and recruitment began the next day at school.

“One day at lunch time Ally came up to us and asked, ‘Do you want to be in Because I am a Girl?’” recalls ten-year-old Raveena Duggal.

“We didn’t really know what we were getting ourselves into.”

Classmates Alisha Iqbal, Coehan Hookey, Amelia Glazier are also members, as is Raveena’s seven-year-old sister, Diya Duggal.

So what exactly does Girl Power do?

“We do fundraisers, we do ‘Art in the Park,’ and we also did a launch party at our school, which was a bake sale,” Ally said.

At the January the girls sold baked goods, jewelry and ‘mystery bags,’ a steal at $2 each.

The result: $2,137.55, money the girls used to purchase “Gifts of Hope” educational and agricultural products Plan International provides communities in need.

The money bought goats, chickens, mosquito netting, schoolbooks and other things, including a year of school tuition for two girls.

And that was just the beginning. Girl Power hopes to gain an audience with local service clubs and achieve its goal of $10,000.

With the help of Parveen Duggal, Raveena and Diya’s mom, they’ve also requested a visit from the Prime Minister’s wife – Sofia Gregoire Trudeau – who just happens to be the Because I am a Girl ambassador.

The girls are hoping Mme. Trudeau will speak at a future gala in Sarnia.

Ally, Raveena and Diya have also collaborated on a side business called “Natural Girl.”

Using locally sourced ingredients, the trio produces cosmetics, lip balms and body scrubs with the intention of raising money and sending one girl to school each year.

“We want to earn the money instead of going around asking,” said Raveena.

The parents are proud of their philanthropic children, said

Parveen Duggal.

“We call them our young humanitarians,” she said.

“They’re understanding that there are girls around the world that don’t have much, and that what they have, they’re not taking for granted.”


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