Girl with a Book Fundraiser Reaches Goal

By: Araxi Best

With the help of South students and several hundred other donors, the Girl with a Book campaign successfully exceeded their $40,000 goal by $961 in 30 days of fundraising. The creators of the campaign, Lena Shareef, South alumna Olivia Curl, and their photographer Jennifer Ciochon, took a risk by making an online Kickstarter, which will only fund a project if the target amount of money is raised.
The goal was to raise enough money to cover the expenses of a trip to Southern and Central Asia to document the experiences of girls who do not have access to education, or who are currently fighting for the right to be educated.
“Ten days before the end of our Kickstarter, we had $17,000, and then by lunch that day we had $26,000. So now I have to plan this thing,” Curl said.
The trip will include Kyrgyzstan, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. Shareef, Curl, and Ciochon were inspired by education and women’s rights activist Malala Yousafzai, who is the youngest person to have won the Nobel Peace Prize. In 2012, Yousafzai was shot by the Taliban while on her way to school but continued to fight for her right to be educated in Pakistan. Shareef and Curl asked girls to send pictures of them reading a book or holding a sign saying, “I stand with Malala,” to support Yousafzai’s struggle for the basic right to education.
Girl with a Book has had previous efforts to fundraise and make a difference.
“We raised money to build a library in Pakistan. Later there was the National Geographic contest – we didn’t win, and that’s OK,” Curl said.
However, this project is going to be more beneficial for Girl with a Book and their journalistic documentation of the effects of missing out on an education for girls around the world.
“What we’re doing now allows us to really dig in and get a more complete picture than 12 countries in 12 months,” Curl said.
This appears to be just the beginning of the piece-by-piece documentary for Girl with a Book.
“Next could be northeast Africa and the Middle East,” Curl explained. “The Arabic speaking world, mostly because we all speak Arabic.”
It is clear that Girl with a Book is just starting out, and the creators know what they’re out to do.
“We know that we’re not big enough, or have enough funding to do the building and work that other organizations do, but we’re out to attack the awareness portion,” Curl said.
The junior class officers aided the fundraiser with their own drive to raise money here at South for Girl with a Book, and Curl was very thankful.
“Thank you so much to Student Government for spearheading the coin drive and especially to Evie Lutz for being so on top of the whole campaign,” Curl said. “South raised over $342, and it’s all due to Evie and Junior Stu Gov.”
This fundraiser marks a big step for Girl with a Book and promises the future for the organization will be bright, considering the amount of support they’ve gotten from students and individuals through donations, social media, and spreading the word locally and nationally.
“It was just an accident, but now we’re running with it because Malala told us to,” Curl said.

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