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Grade 10 student creates ‘Girls for Change’

'To enable girls to go to school globally because when we build strong women we build a stronger nation,' said Hana Rauf, founder of GFC
Girls for Change Food Bank
Supplied photo

Local grade 10 student, Hana Rauf, says she’s always felt the call to do more, but it was a recent trip to Pakistan that really pushed her to follow through. “We saw a lot of girls who looked like me, and were a similar age, that were suffering through a lot of poverty. They didn’t have the same resources and amenities as Canadian girls have,” she said.

While in Pakistan she observed that girls aren’t afforded the education that girls in Canada can expect. “Those images and memories really stayed with me, impacted me, and just fueled me even more.”

While offering a space for Canadian girls to get involved and feel that they are contributing to a better future, she aims to help girls overseas by providing funds that will go towards supplying the tools and resources necessary to be successful and go to school.

Her passion to give comes honestly, she grew up watching her mother advocate for environmental issues and women's rights. “She has always taught me, when you do good for others, then good will always happen to you,” said Rauf.

“My dad lost his job and established his new business. From day one, he made a personal commitment to donate to a charity. I remember questioning my dad, how can he afford to donate to charity without making money and he said that no one has ever gone poor from giving.”

Her goal for 2020 is to raise $3,500, to install a water well in a third world country to battle water insecurity. “Girls can spend six-hours walking for unsanitary water,” she said. “Research shows that water insecurity and water poverty is one of the main focal reasons why girls aren’t able to have an education. With this (well) in place they will hopefully be able to have access to clean water and take that time, it would have taken, and put it into their education and their future,” Rauf says with a proud smile.

In 2019, Girls for Change Canada held a local toy drive, clothing drive for Value Village, and jean drive for Salvation Army. “When The Food Bank of Waterloo Region launched there half a million pounds of food challenge we raised over 200 pounds. This was so rewarding for me as it gave me the confidence that I can make a difference,” she said.

Rauf says the most important part, for her, is to inspire young girls to be a change maker in their community and also have the confidence to go after the career that they want. “Because when you build stronger women, you build a stronger nation."

By participating in fundraising and awareness campaigns, Rauf says, she hopes to instill confidence, leadership, and communication skills for young girls – to take with them throughout life and future career choices, both locally and abroad.

So, what does her father think of his daughter’s passionate generosity? “With so much negativity in today's world, it's rewarding to see her as a beacon of hope and positivity for other girls. She is not only making us proud as a family but the whole community stands behind her,” said Mohammad Rauf.

Their Mother’s Day Brunch event will be held Saturday, May 9th, 2020 at The Button Factory in Waterloo at a cost of $25 per ticket. 100 per cent of funds raised will be donated to Humanity First, to benefit their Water for Life Program.

Rauf says when she looks to the future, her dream is "to see Girls for Change Canada create an impact so strong that every little girl with a dream can feel empowered."

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