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Durham District School Board
Ignite Learning
Teenage Twin Activists Take on G7 Finance Meeting

Maryam and Nivaal Rehman of Sinclair Secondary School interview and mingle with world leaders.

By Sarah Racioppa

Maryam and Nivaal attend the G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors'
Meeting in Whistler, B.C.  

"We don't expect these types of opportunities but when something like this happens, it shows us that our work is having an impact and it means so much to us," says Maryam Rehman.

Maryam and her twin sister Nivaal are Grade 11 students at Sinclair Secondary School in Whitby. Recently, they had the opportunity to travel to Whistler, B.C. on behalf of the Malala Fund to interview the world's leading Finance and Development Ministers and Central Bank Governors.

The overall theme of this G7 meeting was to find ways to invest in growth that works for everyone. Maryam and Nivaal were there to discuss how investing in girls' education works in everyone's favour.

"Our presence there was important because the Malala Fund's message is all about allowing girls to empower each other, and to give all girls access to 12 years of quality education," explains Nivaal.

Funding approved

Interviewing Canada’s Finance Minister
Bill Morneau. 

The Malala Fund's asking price for funding was $1.3 billion. After the G7 meeting in Charlevoix, Quebec it was announced that the world leaders raised over $3.8 billion for girl's education, with Canada contributing $400 million of that.

Maryam and Nivaal sat down with Canada's Finance Minister Bill Morneau, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde, and the CEO of the World Bank Kristalina Georgieva. It was the girls' job to ask the leaders what exactly their financial plans are to support girls' education.

To see Maryam and Nivaal interview finance leaders and explore Whistler, B.C. click here.

Interviewing World Bank CEO
Kristalina Georgieva.
Maryam and Nivaal having a
post-interview conversation with Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the IMF.

The sisters said the best part about interviewing these world leaders were the conversations they had with them before and after the interviews. "They asked us what our perspective is, and what we think about these issues," says Nivaal. "Just being able to go back and forth with these people was really cool."

Activists from the start

Maryam and Nivaal were born in Pakistan and moved to Canada when they were five years old. During a family trip to Pakistan at the age of 8, they became aware that the girls in Pakistan had no interest in remaining in school past Grade 5. This inspired them to begin fighting for girls' education at every possible opportunity.

The girls want other young people to know two things when getting involved in causes that matter, "One, don't be afraid to take the first step. And two, reach out to your teachers. They're there to help you," says Nivaal.

"We want everyone to know that we're two ordinary girls that are doing extraordinary things, and they can too," adds Maryam.

Next Up

As soon as the girls finish exams they will be launching their own youth activism program, giving young people across the globe the opportunity to contribute to their YouTube channel "The World with MNR." Their channel can be used as a media pass at any event. They cover WE Day, the Social Good Summit, and other amazing conferences all over the world.


Durham District School Board
400 Taunton Road East,
Whitby, ON
L1R 2K6 Canada

Phone: 905-666-5500
Fax: 905-666-6474
Toll Free: 1-800-265-3968
TTY 905-666-6943, 877-868-5575
© Durham District School Board, 2013