Drawing inspiration from Assembly stories

(Courtesy of Zoë McClain)

(Courtesy of Zoë McClain)

16-year-old Zoë McClain finds a creative way to support Malala Fund’s work.

Inspired by the girls featured on Assembly, 16-year-old Zoë McClain wanted to find a unique way to support Malala Fund’s work. So, she turned to what she does best: drawing.

Zoë drew portraits based on some of her favourite Assembly articles for a school art show. She told attendees about the young leaders depicted in the 10-piece series and collected donations for Malala Fund. Zoë shares her beautiful creations and explains why she chose each of her subjects below.


 
(Courtesy of Zoë McClain)

(Courtesy of Zoë McClain)

 

Ada Li Yan-tung

This is 19-year-old Ada Li Yan-tung, the first of my influential girls portraits to promote Malala Fund and girls’ education. When she was just 15, she proposed the idea for panda-shaped solar farms! Her idea was widely embraced and the 50-megawatt farm, shaped like two baby pandas, now provides one million people in the northern China area with energy for half a year. How awesome is that?


 
(Courtesy of Zoë McClain)

(Courtesy of Zoë McClain)

 

Gaurika Singh

Portrait number two of my influential girls series is 16-year-old swimmer Gaurika Singh. At 13, Gaurika was the youngest athlete to compete at the 2016 Rio Olympics. She used her prize money and publicity to advocate for education for women and girls rescued from trafficking in Nepal. She truly is one of today’s influential girls!


 
(Courtesy of Zoë McClain)

(Courtesy of Zoë McClain)

 

Jamie Saraí Margolin

This is 17-year-old Jamie Saraí Margolin. At 14, she founded the Zero Hour movement to raise awareness for and fight against climate change. The Zero Hour movement has helped lead a number of rallies and protests across the country in support of the environment.


 
(Courtesy of Zoë McClain)

(Courtesy of Zoë McClain)

 

Sasha Matthews

14-year-old Sasha Matthews is a cartoonist who uses her talents to raise money for the ACLU. She has raised more than $11,000 in commissioned sales for her “Everyday Superheroes” series. So cool!


 
(Courtesy of Zoë McClain)

(Courtesy of Zoë McClain)

 

Hillary Yip

Meet Hillary Yip, who at just 13 years old is one of the youngest CEOs in the world. She created a language app to assist children in learning different languages. Her app is called MinorMynas, and it is being used across the globe!


 
(Courtesy of Zoë McClain)

(Courtesy of Zoë McClain)

 

Tanya Muzinda

13-year-old motocross racer Tanya Muzinda from Zimbabwe currently holds titles such as gold medalist in South Africa FIM Motocross of Nations and African Union Sports Council’s Junior Sportswoman of the Year. She is Zimbabwe’s first-EVER female motocross champion and is on the road to becoming the first female champion from Africa!


 
(Courtesy of Zoë McClain)

(Courtesy of Zoë McClain)

 

Amanda Gorman

Amanda Gorman is the first-ever U.S. National Youth Poet Laureate. She writes (obviously!) and she speaks with educators, students, and organizations across the country about the importance of arts education, literacy and poetry. Check out her writing — it’s incredibly inspiring!


 
(Courtesy of Zoë McClain)

(Courtesy of Zoë McClain)

 

Aseel Soboh

This is Aseel Soboh, a 14-year-old Palestinian refugee and activist. As a United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) student parliamentarian, Aseel spoke on behalf of Palestinian refugee students before the 2018 U.N. General Assembly and advocated for funding for refugee education.


 
(Courtesy of Zoë McClain)

(Courtesy of Zoë McClain)

 

Bana Alabed

This is Bana Alabed. When she was just 7, she wanted to share about her life in Aleppo. She took to social media to document her experiences living during the Syrian Civil War, even documenting when her school was bombed. Now 9 years old, she has published a book titled, “Dear World: A Syrian Girl’s Story of War and Plea for Peace,” all about her life and experiences. Giving young girls like Bana a voice is indescribably important.


 
(Courtesy of Zoë McClain)

(Courtesy of Zoë McClain)

 

Ciara-Beth Griffin

For my last portrait in my series to support girls’ education and Malala Fund, I decided to spotlight 18-year-old Ciara-Beth Griffin. When she was 14, she was diagnosed with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder. One problem she saw facing those like her was an inability to make eye contact. She decided to do something about it by creating her own app. MiContact is now used by children and adults alike to practice making eye contact.


 
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About the author/illustrator

Zoë McClain is a 16-year-old student from Issaquah, Washington who loves Marvel and “The Walking Dead.” You can usually find her with a Copic marker in her hand.