12-year-old Nevani knows firsthand what inequality and discrimination feels like, and she is determined to do something about it. Last week, along with her brother, sister and mum (one half of the couple behind our partner organisation, MindTribes), Nevani visited us to learn more about the work Plan International does, and here she shares some of her thoughts with us.
From left: Nevani (12), Jeanelle (Plan International Corporate Partnerships Manager), Sankaran (16), Div Pillay (MindTribes co-founder and Nevani's mother), Yashika (8) and Susanne (Plan International CEO)
I am passionate about equality for girls because of my parents work and because I have experienced discrimination even though I am born in Australia. When I was 6 years old, I was not invited to a Disney Princess party because the other girls said I couldn’t dress up as Cinderella or Snow White, because I am brown.
I have often been asked where I'm from because of my darker skin or I get Indian head “nodding” gestures made in ‘jest’. Recently in my soccer club, I was one of two girls playing soccer in a team of boys. They gave us a particularly hard time, playing rough and when I scored a goal despite this, they said, “That is pretty good for a black girl”.
These experiences are not even close to what girls in developing countries are experiencing, but it gives me some personal connection to really get involved with my parents and Plan International to fight for equality for girls. I think I will continue this throughout my life.
On the 5th of July, I was lucky enough to go into Plan International offices, with my sister, brother and mum.
We each got jobs, I was the writer; I dealt with what statistics, information and content we would use to communicate to MindTribes (my parent’s business) clients – we want them to know how doing business with MindTribes helps empower girls. My sister chose the photos that fitted with my content, and my brother will bring this to life in letters and online brochures (it really tested our collaboration skills!).
I thought that bringing us to the Plan International office was a great idea, as it is important for kids to understand what is actually happening around us, instead of being confined and protected from the harsh realities of all the inequality that exists in the world.
Since we are the future generation, we need to understand these topics to be able to do something in the future. I was really pleased to learn about how Plan International works to solve some of these inequalities: on a community level; working with civil societies and working to lobby government to influence change.
When doing the project for MindTribes, I found that to get the statistics that I needed for my job, I had to read a lot. Through this reading I found out many things that I did not know about global issues, and about Plan’s global work for girls, like Safer Cities and Free to Be.
I was amazed and shocked about some of the awful issues happening with girls like, 1 in 3 girls are married before their 18th birthday, some as young as 11 years old. I am 12! All the reading was quite confronting and eye opening but that made me want to do something about it.