10-Year-Old Starts Girl Power Day in Ontario

Posted on December 14, 2012, by Lizzie Presser, Half the Sky Movement

October was a big month for ten-year-old Olivia Christian. Stunned by scenes from Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide and outraged by the shooting of Malala Yousafzai in Pakistan, Olivia’s wheels started turning. With a little help from her mother, this fifth grader launched Girl Power Day, a once-a-month fundraiser at lower schools in Ontario, Canada, for students to donate one dollar each to organizations promoting girls’ access to education.

“I thought of what my life would be like if I didn’t have school,” said Olivia in an interview. “We were thinking of stuff to do and my mom thought people could bring one dollar to school. I said, ‘Why don’t we do it every month on the first of every month?’”


Olivia Christian publicizes Girl Power Day at King Edward Public School. 

And so Girl Power Day was born. Since the launch, Olivia has collected more than $300 from her peers at King Edward Public School for the organization Room to Read, which supports literacy and gender equality in schools in Southeast Asia and parts of Africa. At least two other schools in Windsor County, Ontario have recently signed on to the initiative as well.

“Seeing Malala’s story really made me feel like we have to do something. Now, I want to make the Taliban feel ashamed for what they did. There is no reason for anyone to hurt little girls,” Olivia said. Malala Yousafzai, who has gained international recognition for her brave advocacy of girls’ education, was shot in the head and neck on October 9 by a member of the Taliban.

Olivia and her mother have been sending letters to schools in the area asking them to join Girl Power Day. “I met with the school board director and he gave me $32 and told me it was a good idea and he’d help me with it,” said Olivia. She is hoping the campaign will grow to various schools around the world.

If you’re interested in joining Olivia’s campaign, you can reach her through her mother’s email address at vanessachristian7821@yahoo.com. She is aiming to raise more than $200 on January 1, 2013, and would love your support.