Cue the party poppers sisters (and brothers), this week is the fifth official International Day of the Girl! Not only is this a real thing, it’s a totally official thing, in 2012 the United Nations passed a resolution dedicated to the “empowerment of and investment in girls, which are critical for economic growth,” and to “breaking the cycle of discrimination and violence and in promoting and protecting the full and effective enjoyment of their human rights”. Pretty cool – huh!?!
So, in the lead up to Wednesday, 11 October and to support this year’s theme - Girls' Progress = Goals' Progress we will be sharing stories about some of the fabulous young women that Aim for the Stars supported since 2003. These are leading the way, breaking down barriers and spearheading change. Let’s start with the amazing Holley Somerville-Knott who is a 2017 scholarship recipient.
Holley may only be 14 years old but she’s packed in a lot of life experience already. She’s an environmentalist, singer, public speaker, slam poet, CEO, social entrepreneur and 2017 Scholarship recipient from Byron Bay.
Things have not always been easy for Holley. She was diagnosed with high functioning Asperger’s at an early age. This meant she couldn’t make eye contact with anyone and would scream all day and all night. She also has a kidney disorder and had severe viral asthma as a child, which saw her spend a lot of time at the doctors, hospitals and undergoing tests.
Despite these health problems Holley found her purpose in helping people, spreading kindness and creating a clean green planet.
Holley passion for the environment began after watching a documentary about the destruction on massive ancient rainforest loss caused by palm oil production, as well as the death of orangutans and other wildlife. It also highlighted the slave labour indigenous peoples were put under.
Her social enterprise ‘Tell Someone Who Cares’ aims to disrupt the palm oil industry. Through this campaign she has created a new sustainable product range made from rainforest illipe nut butter including a beautiful coconut soap, with Australian macadamia oil. She’s also been working with the Dayak people of Borneo and The Masarang Foundation to help bring her products to market.
On the local front, Holley has recently launched RAD - rainforest action day for schools. “My dream is that thousands of kids all over the world will be educated through this platform, and are empowered to take positive action and help preserve the planet they will one day inherit”.
Thanks to our wonderful donors and sponsors, Holley has been able to bring ‘Tell Someone Who Cares’ to life.
“Layne has been a role model to me and an inspiration. The fact that she believed in me even though I was young is amazing. I am eternally grateful to her and my Aim for the Stars mentor Alison Flemming”.
At the Foundation’s gala dinner in September, Holley shared her story and a slam poem she’d written on resilience (use the link below to listen). She also recently graced the stage with the Dali Lama at the Art of Happiness Conference. What a STAR!
To support more passionate environmental warriors like Holley, make a donation today and help launch the superSTARS of tomorrow.
To apply for a scholarship, click here or to Keep up-to-date with what’s happening at the Foundation on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter