Penny Appeal Employs 11-year-old Kid boss, Shakira Rahman
Ask any teacher, parent or babysitter, and they’ll tell you that sometimes kids are far wiser than we adults will ever be.
They’ll ask the big questions; the simple questions with answers we haven’t figured out yet. They’ll be playing and messing about, and then they’ll say the most profound thing you’ve ever heard.
As adults, we’ve built up layers of acceptance and coping mechanisms. We read about a new drone strike in the news or watch a video of yet another racist rant on a bus - and at times we don’t even feel a thing. We accept that the world is the way is it; we try to do our bit, but deep down we don’t believe that we can do anything about it.
Kids have an innocence and a confidence that is bold enough to ask; why can’t we do better?
From Syria to Slough, kids are experiencing the world through their big eyes for the very first time. A child in Syria sees her beloved home in ruins and clutches her favourite teddy to her chest. A child in Slough can’t stop his father from drinking, or beating up his mum. A child in South London is going to school without breakfast again; she’ll have to wait until lunch.
We adults like to think that we can protect children, but the truth is that we can’t protect kids from everything. This generation of children have just begun to experience the world – good and bad – and they have their own rights and their own ideas about how to make our world a better place.
At Penny Appeal, we’ve been working hard to try to solve some of the world’s biggest problems for the last 10 years. Feeding the world? We’ve provided over 12 million meals. Safe drinking water? We’ve helped pour an incredible 3 trillion glasses of water.
What we’ve achieved together over the last 10 years has been amazing, but we need the next generation to step up and help us make the next 10 years truly mind-blowing.
That’s why we’ve hired our very first Child CEO, 11-year-old Shakira Rahman.
Shakira represents the 10 amazing years we’ve had here at Penny Appeal, and the endless potential for the next decade to come. But she’s more than that.
Shakira has a real position in the company. She’s the Child CEO of Penny Appeal, reporting directly to the CEO. Her role is to make sure children’s issues are at the heart of Penny Appeals future and to bring a young, fresh perspective to the team.
“Shakira believes change will happen, her energy is infectious and it brings out the eternal optimist in us that so many of us left behind in our childhoods.” – Adeem Younis, Chairman and Founder of Penny Appeal
We say that children are the future, so we’re putting our pennies where our mouth is.
We hired Shakira because she is the future of British Muslims.
She’s as British as a cup of tea, but still loves her eastern faith and she sees no conflict between the two.
She knows what’s trending on social media and reads the Quran; she does gymnastics on the weekend and prays every day. She cares about children in Syria and about the lonely granny down the road. She likes the singer Ariana Grande and women’s rights activist Rokya Begum.
The thing that makes Shakira different is that she hasn’t lost hope like so many of us adults have; she sees that the world can change for the good and that being a Muslim means she has a part to play in making that happen.
Shakira will be working with us to learn about the work we do here at Penny Appeal, as well as meeting with children from around the UK and the world to find out what kids want and need. She’s smart, funny and ferocious – and most importantly, she genuinely cares about children. From orphans in the Gambia to the kids down the road who go to school on an empty stomach, Shakira cares about both and she’s ready to advocate for them.
“I’d like to use my position to make sure young people who don’t have a voice are heard, and if people don’t listen then I’m going to shout until they do.” – Shakira Rahman, Child CEO
Our team at Penny Appeal are over the moon that Shakira is joining us as our Child CEO. We know that she has a lot to learn from us, and that we have a lot to learn from her. We can’t wait to see how she’s going to shake things up, and help us to change our world for the better – and yes, she’s already helping us come back to that child-like state of confidence and optimism. Let’s do this.
THURSDAY 28 MAR 2019