Memory Banda: #GIRLHERO and girl advocate

Events , Leadership

Here at Girl Up we have a lot of girl heroes – and we think it’s time to put them in the spotlight. Being a #GIRLHERO is not easy. It means standing up for what you believe in. It means going outside of your comfort zone so that girls and women around you may feel empowered. This week, to celebrate International Day of the Girl, we’ve decided to give a shout out to a different #GIRLHERO every day and it all starts with Memory Banda.

Fact #1: Memory Banda is an 18-year-old college student from Malawi.
Fact #2: Memory Banda is no ordinary 18-year-old college student from Malawi.

Having seen her sister be forced to marry at age 11, Memory was fiercely committed to staying in school and finishing her education so that she might have a better future. But she didn’t stop there. In a country where half of all girls marry before their 18th birthday, Memory became a passionate advocate to end child marriage.

She created a girls’ community club to keep other girls in school and inform her peers of their rights. With the support of Malawi’s Girls Empowerment Network (GENET) and Let Girls Lead, the club grew to 200 members and became a leading force against harmful traditional practices. Memory has even advocated to village chiefs and Members of Parliament to raise the legal age of marriage in Malawi from 16 to 18. When Memory came and spoke at this past Girl Up Leadership Summit, her story brought the room to its feet. Talk about a #GIRLHERO moment.

Memory is our first #GIRLHERO of the week. Who’s yours? On Facebook and Twitter (@GirlUp) or Instagram (@girlupcampaign), tag your friends, family and female role models as a #GIRLHERO and encourage them to pay it forward. That’s all it takes and it makes a huge difference.