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Teen Uses School Papers to Create Dress & Awareness for Education

The Short of It

Erinne Paisley, a British Columbia, Canada, teen, attended her high school graduation wearing a dress made of satin, velvet and... pre-calculus homework papers. Now, the dress stands to raise more than $1,100 for girls' rights around the globe.

The Lowdown

Erinne knew she wanted to make a dress out of recycled materials and was completely inspired to take her idea to the next level after hearing Malala Yousafzai speak at We Day UK.

Malala is a Pakistani teen who, after being shot by the Taliban because of her outspoken views on education, inspired many to sign Pakistan's first right to education bill, which says all children should have access to a formal education. She's founded the Malala Fund to create awareness for the positive effects of girls' education and to empower girls to reach their potential.

"As graduation got closer, the fact that 62 million girls around the world don't have access to secondary education as I was preparing to celebrate my own secondary education was something that was really moving to me," Erinne said.

To spread awareness herself, Erinne wrote on her dress: "I've received my education. Not every woman has that right." She also included the URL of Malala's organization's site: "Malala.org." She also donated the money she would have spent on a new dress—$250—to the Malala Fund.

"I believe all girls deserve the right to get a free, quality secondary education because the circumstances in which you are born into in life should never define your potential to contribute positively to the world," Erinne wrote on a blog post on Malala.org. "I cannot, to any degree imagine, what it might be like to have to stand up and fight for an education mainly because of your sex."

The Upshot

Erinne's dress has gained quite a bit of attention, and she's decided to auction it off to raise money for the Malala Fund. So far, the highest bid is $1,150, but the auction will be open for three more weeks.

"I've gotten a lot of comments from people saying they're going to donate, or that [I'm bringing attention to] this issue that they've never paid much attention to before. It's been absolutely amazing to hear," says Erinne.

The charitable new graduate plans to study international relations at the University of Toronto and would like to pursue a career fighting for human rights. She's already on her way!

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