TCU celebrated the release of “Be a Girl Champion,” a book written and illustrated by the youngest-ever TCU Global Innovator.
The book, which was launched by the TCU Press, is written by Chloe Reynaldo and consists of a compilation of stories about seven girls in Southeast Asia.
The anecdotes depict the hardships the girls have faced with the intention of spreading awareness.
In the stories, Reynaldo not only details the girl’s adversities but also describes how they came out of their situations wiser and stronger.
She always ends a story with her core message: “Listen to her. Know her worth. Be a girl champion.”
“I believe the book will contribute to the global conversation about women’s rights and the struggles to attain those fundamental human rights, and it will truly champion young women throughout the world who may find themselves in the stories that Chloe presents in her book,” said Melinda Esco, a production manager for the TCU Press.
In 2016, at the age of 16, Reynaldo became the youngest person to be awarded the TCU Global Innovator Prize, which includes a grant of up to $25,000. The grant was used to fund the book, which celebrates advocacy, gender equality and the power of girls.
The prize was awarded by the Discovering Global Citizens organization.
James English, the co-chair of the Global Innovators Initiative at the time, said Reynaldo was chosen to be a recipient because “the committee was impressed with [her] grassroots work on gender equality and youth empowerment in her home country.”
Reynaldo was nominated to be a recipient of the Global Innovator Prize by Jan Ballard, an instructor for the department of design in the College of Fine Arts.
“She is an amazing speaker, and an amazing young adult creating change in the world,” Ballard said.
Reynaldo visited TCU in 2016 to receive her award and engage the campus in discussions about gender equality. During her visit, Reynaldo and Ballard decided “Be a Girl Champion” was the project in which they wanted to invest their time and grant money to further the work Reynaldo is doing in her home country.
Reynaldo wrote and illustrated the book for three years while Ballard designed the layout and pagination.
Men ignoring and sidelining girls, child marriage, workplace inequality, education, sexual exploitation, human trafficking and rape are some of the major rights issues represented in this book.
Reynaldo and her TCU partner hope the book will spread awareness and inspire discussion about the challenges girls face.
This semester, to promote the book and Chloe’s cause, Ballard challenged the upper-level students in her Professional Recognition for the Graphic Designer class to read the book and create Instagram posts about it.
“I was interested and eager about creating a social media post for the Chloe Reynaldo’s ‘Be A Girl Champion’ book – with all of the post combined, we have created a small way to support a giant effort to draw attention to the horrible reality some girls face,” Caroline Fischer, on of Ballard’s students, said.
The young activist from the Philippines was chosen by the Asia and the Pacific section of the United Nations as the youngest delegate and speaker during the Women’s Month Summit held in Bangkok in 2016.
She was also invited by Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon to the first-ever World Humanitarians Summit in Istanbul in 2015.
Reynaldo has done work as a member of Y-PEER, a global youth peer education initiative pioneered by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), a network of youth organizations in the Philippines. Its members include young people, active peer educators, trainers and youth advocates for adolescent sexual and reproductive health.
Now, Reynaldo is 19 and studying at a university in Manila to be a surgeon.
Reynaldo will be the featured speaker at an International Day of the Girl event in Manila on Oct. 11 where “Be A Girl Champion” books and sarongs will be given to vulnerable young women in the Philippines.
On Oct. 8, the department of women and gender studies and TCU Press sponsored a celebration for the book’s release in the atrium of Rees-Jones Hall.