PETALING JAYA, Oct 3 – It was the opportunity of a lifetime for five little girls across Southeast Asia when they were chosen as the winners of the first “Barbie You Can Be A Champion For Change” competition.
Not only did they win exclusive mentorships with Tengku Zatashah Idris, Butet Manurung, Maria Poonlertlarp, Rebekah Lin, and Chesca Garcia Kramer, but also a hands-on experience with local NGOs to learn how to bring their winning ideas to life.
Girls aged 5 to 12 years old from Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand were invited to submit their ideas for how they dream to change the world and make it a better place.
The top entries from each country were invited to participate in a live virtual presentation round where they met with mentors and judges who provided advice and encouragement to the young hopefuls.
“With more than 200 careers, Barbie aims to take on aspirational and culturally relevant roles. This year, we encourage little girls across the region to be changemakers, to instil confidence and to provide an avenue for them to share their ideas and experience at an early age on how they can contribute and play a role in bringing positive change in the world,” said Dwanty Eka Putri, brand manager, dolls category, Mattel Southeast Asia.
In the end, it was Cutlass-Skydd C. Sule, 5 from the Philippines; Emma Syakira Jasmine, 6, from Indonesia; Thereese Elvia Fabian, 8, representing Singapore; Chloe Lim Ke Qing, 9, from Malaysia; and Taksaorn Suwannachart, 10, from Thailand, who emerged as champions for change.
The five aspiring change makers embraced the spirit of Barbie You Can Be A Champion For Change with their creative ideas and passion to make a difference.
Cutlass presented her desire to provide support and resources for farmers, inspired by her grandmother, who is a farmer.
Emma showed the judges how to make a simple water filter so more people can have access to clean water.
Thereese shared her passion to make education more accessible to underprivileged kids.
Chloe delivered a rousing speech about the urgency of addressing climate change.
Taksaorn, who goes by the nickname Proud, shared her idea to reduce waste by transforming trash into treasure and making jewellery from single-use items.
The mentorships were held over a weekend, with each mentor tackling a new aspect of being a changemaker.
Butet brought forth her personal experiences to teach the girls about facing challenges and creative problem solving. Tengku Zatashah inspired them as she spoke about changing the world with kindness.
Chesca encouraged them to be courageous in being themselves and not shy away from speaking up about their beliefs. Maria showed them how they can begin to get others interested in their cause by using their influence for good.
Rebekah rounded out the mentorships with a session dedicated to the importance of creating a strong community.
“We always have to value every contribution that kids make, no matter how small,” said founder of Sokola Rimba and Barbie Role Model 2022, Butet. “Every kid has a talent, and it’s up to us to nurture it.
“Everyone has the potential to be a changemaker with the right support system. I hope more organisations will join Barbie in running initiatives like this to change the world for good.”
The experience culminated in hands-on experiences with local organisations that will be able to teach the winners how to bring their ideas to life.
Cutlass spoke with farmers from the Boboy Farmers Association and with Team Barbie Philippines, pledged ₱50,000 (RM 3956.06) for their equipment.
Thereese met with her mentor, Rebekah, and committee members from the Cheng San Community Club.
Chloe brought along her schoolmates to work with the team at Free Tree Society to learn more about conservation. Proud met with representatives of the sustainable clothing and accessories brand, Freitag.
Barbie selected partner organisations based on each winner’s idea to ensure a unique and relevant experience for each one of the girls.
The company is currently in the process of securing Emma an experience that will teach her more about making clean water more accessible.