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World Vision Launches Inspirational Storybook

World Vision launches inspirational storybook, with stories from heroic girls told by Clarke Gayford, Toni Street, Karen Walker, Matilda Green and other well-known Kiwis

From tonight [8 November], New Zealanders will get the chance to listen to their favourite Kiwis read them bedtime stories with the launch of ‘Stories from Girls who Dared to Dream’, a book that shares the real-life stories of brave and powerful girls around the world.

Toni Street, Clarke Gayford, Helen Clark, Karen Walker, Stacey Morrison, Vaughan Smith, Megan Papas, Matilda Green, Jenny-May Clarkson and Kimberley Crossman are putting their storytelling skills on display to read a story each night. The stories will be read on their own Instagram accounts, and available on World Vision New Zealand’s Facebook and Instagram pages. 

The storybook features the stories of 10 fearless girls, who refused to accept the life that had been dealt to them. Instead, they chose to rise up and challenge the status quo that told them they couldn’t, just because they are girls.

World Vision has created the book in order to raise awareness of issues facing girls across the world and to highlight the strength and determination of many powerful young women.

A recent report from World Vision showed the huge impact the Covid-19 pandemic is having on girls in the developing world, with child marriage rates increasing and girls’ education decreasing. Currently 130 million girls are not in school. Each year 12 million girls each are married as children and around 15% of all young women give birth before the age of 18, most of whom are in lower income countries. This is particularly disturbing considering that the leading cause of death for girls aged 15-19 years globally is complications from pregnancy and childbirth.

“As a mother I want nothing more for my children than for them to live their dreams. In our house, bedtime is a very special time for us to connect with our children and read them stories that inspire hope and happiness,” says TV and radio presenter Toni Street.

“Our kids have been curious about the short stories in World Vision’s ‘Stories from Girls who Dared to Dream’. As a family we discuss how grateful we are for all we have, and we celebrate those in the book who have overcome obstacles to achieve wonderful things in their lives.”

The book features stories from 10 girls from 10 different countries whose lives have been changed by World Vision’s sponsorship programme – Rifa from Bangladesh, Nahomy from Honduras, Kanishka from India, Lenny from the Philippines, Mwila from Zambia, Xiaobing from China, Akhi from Bangladesh, Elizabeth from Uganda and Lina from Cambodia.

The book also includes a special story from Bonnie from Nelson, New Zealand, who after hearing about the hunger crisis in sub-Saharan Africa, set herself a big goal – to inspire her entire school to help children facing hunger have food for today, and a future for tomorrow. Bonnie (12) achieved that goal, raising $5000 with the help of her schoolmates, for World Vision. Bonnie’s story will be read across two nights, in both English and Te Reo by Vaughan Smith and Stacey Morrison.

The book has been launched as part of World Vision’s 1000 Girls campaign, which aims to connect one thousand girls with sponsors who will support them to achieve their dreams by World Children’s Day on 20 November. The online book is free of charge and can be downloaded here.

“It’s great to see these familiar faces and voices getting behind this initiative,” says Grant Bayldon, National Director at World Vision New Zealand. “Their enthusiasm for telling these stories will help give New Zealand families an inspirational and educational collection of real-life stories to share with their children.”

“In many parts of the world, it’s harder for girls than for boys to do many things: to survive childhood, go to school, choose a job, or just choose their own destiny. There are so many powerful, brave and inspirational girls who right now are fighting this injustice so that they, and others like them, can have self-determination and equal rights,” adds Bayldon.

World Vision is working to help empower girls across the world. Through World Vision’s child sponsorship, girls are supported to gain an education, learn more about their rights and reach their dreams.

“’Stories from Girls who Dared to Dream’ shares the stories of some of these girls, real role models who put kindness and bravery into action to reach their dreams and support those around them.”

World Vision sponsorship also enables programmes that work to change social norms, guide and educate communities - including men and boys - and create a world where a future free of fear can be possible.

Visit worldvision.org.nz/1000girls to download the storybook or join the movement to sponsor 1,000 girls by 20 November, go to worldvision.org.nz/1000girls.

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