Editor Michael Pinchera is reporting from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where he is attending the Women Deliver 2013 Conference, which focuses on the health and empowerment of girls and women worldwide.
Romilly Martin is leveraging the power of meetings and events to transform the future of girls—and the world.
As senior brand and creative specialist at the Nike Foundation, Martin said she worked with an inspiring team to bring forth the dreams of impoverished girls in such a way that the importance of their messages cannot be ignored—a modern take on the Japanese wish tree.
The Girl Tree, a component of the Foundation’s Girl Effect project, is the eye-catching realization of Martin’s team. Debuted at the Women Deliver conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, this week, the Tree blossoms with the aspirations of girls from seven nations, hand-written on wooden tablets.
Some of the tablets glow, much like the authors, with an inner light—literally. The lit-up tablets share each story aurally as well as through the written work. Press a button on one of the glowing slabs and the voice of the girl behind that dream reports out, in her native tongue as well as English.
“The thing I most want is to have an encyclopedia because I want to have more knowledge,” one tablet representing a 12-year-old girl from China vocalized.
The Girl Effect is driven by the idea that “girls are the most powerful force for change on the planet.” Through the Girl Tree, placed at a prominent junction on the Women Deliver trade show floor, Romilly Martin and the Nike Foundation combine the power of creative design, storytelling and the medium of meetings and events to enhance awareness of the global need to empower girls. And they’re already planning to gather stories from girls in even more nations to keep the message going—this is a real issue and it’s global.
Teal Brown, associate director of williamsworks, which has been involved with the Girl Tree exhibit, shared that it's important and very cool to present the project in such a high-level meetings environment as the Women Deliver conference.
Thank you to the Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau, which was kind enough to invite me to experience first-hand how an important international event such as Women Deliver is executed and supported by the bureau, the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center and the Malaysian government. Truly an outstanding feat.