Hey everyone! My name is Sarah Hesterman and I am 16 years old and from Washington, D.C. I’ve lived in five states and two countries, most recently Qatar in the Middle East.
After attending the Girl Up Annual Leadership Summit in 2014, my passion for girls’ rights in developing countries grew immensely and became one of my main interests. Meeting girls who were eager to stand up for others inspired me, and I realized that I too wanted to make a difference. Learning how to empower girls in my community and in communities around the world at the summit compelled me to start Girl Up Qatar, the first club in the country and one of a few in the Middle East.
Because of the amazing support I received from Girl Up, I was honored to be named one of the BBC’s 100 Women of 2014 and one of Malala’s #GirlHeroes. I have also spoken at the World Innovation Summit for Education to promote female empowerment in the field of education. My public speaking, leadership and advocacy skills have been greatly developed because of the opportunities given to me through participating in the campaign.
Traveling throughout West and South Asia as well as Africa has allowed me to see first-hand the problems girls face when denied their rights. Witnessing the negative effect that child marriage, a dangerous living situation, and a lack of education has on a girl is why I know that Girl Up’s mission to create positive change is essential. I hope to eventually work with UN Women and craft policies that tackle these issues head-on.