"Being a Millennium Fellow is an absolute honor because it provides me with the opportunity to, not only tap into an incredible community of leaders and resources for my own goals and projects but witness the potential a single student can have on a community through multiple dimensions. Personally, I find myself to be a citizen who is passionate about the refugee crisis because it serves as a moment to highlight the foundations of humanity which tie us together rather than tear us apart. Basic principles like education, community, and support, which should be unalienable rights, are unfortunately tangled with the ropes of politics and torn from the world's most vulnerable and innocent: children.
As President of UNICEF at ASU, I work daily to provide the necessary resources for children in need abroad, but the symptoms of this crisis exist within our own community. As such, Hands for Henna provides an outlet to provide and empower refugee children, specifically girls, to use their education as a tool to elevate themselves beyond what the politics of this world tried to otherwise limit them within. To witness this, to be in the presence of blooming leadership amongst girls whose whole lives were uprooted, is why I do what I do."
Millennium Fellowship Project
Hands for Henna is a local student-run organization which seeks to empower refugee girls in the valley by hosting free educational classes concerning a variety of topics from access to academic resources to navigating the American educational system to building lifelong skills, such as resume writing. Each class ends with giving a girl a gift bag filled with educational supplies, which are collected through fundraising via providing henna services and hosting donation drives. Within these upcoming months, the team hopes to host two more educational classes and reach up to 50 refugee girls in the valley.
About the Millennium Fellow
Marija Shahid is a senior studying Biological Sciences (Genetics, Cellular and Developmental Biology) aiming to one day become a doctor for Doctor's Without Borders. She was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh and moved to North America 3 years later. As such, her upbringing consists of 4 years in Canada and 13 years in the United States and 3 languages in between. As an older sister and daughter, today she finds herself to be a curious 21-year-old woman working to heal the world’s most vulnerable through her passion of medicine and service.
Connect with Marija Shahid via Instagram