Interview with model and actress Marigold Mioc
By Asem hegazy Creative report by Asem hegazy Creative director And Global Content Advisor
My name is Marigold Mioc and I am 11 years old and live in Canada
I have been involved with volunteering, community service and global humanitarian work since 2015
When I was 5 years old, I asked my mom if I could start a business, after seeing vendors at a market. She said “You’re too young!” and I said “But mom, you just have to sit at the table and talk to people”
My mom thought about it some more and she asked if I was really serious
I said yes! She had found a listing online about a woman who was selling her headband making supplies
My mom asked if I would like to learn how to make and sell flower headbands and I said “Yes!” I was excited to earn my own money and started to think of things that I would like to buy.
The whole reason I wanted to start a business was to be able to buy things for myself, but that would change
I worked at many markets that first year and was saving a lot of money
I planned to go on a trip to France with my mom in December 2015 with the money I had earned. That was my biggest dream at that age-To go to Paris and eat macarons!
Then, a horrible bombing took place in Paris in November 2015. My dad wouldn’t give permission for me to travel, as he was scared
My mom started to explain about the current events in the world and the subject of Syrian refugees came up
My mom told me about what was happening and then I asked if I could use my money to help refugees, instead of for a trip
We started to research how we could help and we saw an article about a Group of 5 Sponsorship for a family from Syria to Canada. I asked my mom if I could use my money for this
She said “Of course!”
We got into contact with someone who connected us to a sponsor group. The Syrian family arrived from a refugee camp in Jordan in 2016 and we were so excited to have them here in our city
I also started to volunteer with the Syrian Refugee Support Group, in their warehouse.
I helped with sorting clothing and donations, and spent time with new families, hoping to make them feel welcome
It was my first time taking part in a pageant and I won the title! I began to attend many events as a representative of my city
I began to give speeches at these community events
I met many local community leaders and politicians-many who became my mentors and friends
One thing that changed my journey, was meeting the founder of the ‘One Woman’ organization
She allowed me to give a speech at her summit in 2018
She gave me chance, to speak at a women’s conference and put her trust in me
At that event, I was invited to go on a leadership volunteer trip to Kenya. We fundraised and I went to Africa with my mom and the rest f the group in the summer of 2018
I was so excited! I learned so may leadership skills during my trip and I helped to build a school dorm for girls
I also toured farms, schools and a clinic
I learned so much about other ways of life and also saw how similar we all are in many ways.
After the trip, I decided to use the money from my business to sponsor a girl at the school in Kenya. I sponsored her for 2 years of secondary school
I have been a volunteer with Engineers without Borders since 2018. In 2019, I attended leadership training in Ottawa, along with the University Chapter leaders from across Canada
We also met with Members of Parliament to discuss Canada’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals
It was an honor to be given the opportunity to learn and be part of such an important and valuable experience
In 2019, I joined an organization in Helsinki, Finland, called HundrED, as a Youth Ambassador
They seek and share innovations in global education and wanted to have the youth voice
I attended their summit in Helsinki in November 2019
I led a World Cafe discussion with educators from around the globe and participated in leadership training and workshops
I gave a speech about how I feel about the future of education
I liked that I was able to share my thoughts and that people were listening to what the youth would like to see
In 2020, I made a video about the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child as a Fellowship project for HundrED. Forty-five youth from all over the world participated in my video, with each child saying a different Article
I realized that many kids did not know that they have rights, so it was important for me to spread the awareness.
I have also been involved with Young Canadians’ Parliament and am advocating for a National Commissioner for Youth position to be created
This would be someone who would represent youth in the federal government so their voices are heard
I have had many challenges over the years. Mainly that people don’t take me seriously because of my age
I was very interested in politics when I was younger and people were shocked that a 7 year old girl could be so involved
Thankfully, many politicians allowed me to volunteer with their parties and I learned so much
Some adults also helped me to write my own policy proposal which I submitted at a convention meeting
There was one Member of Parliament in particular who always treated me like a person, and not like a little kid. He listened to me, had conversations with me and took me seriously
I learned so much from him. He gave me so many opportunities through volunteering and even allowed me to set up a meeting with him at his office, with other youth leaders, to discuss some concerns we had
I like that he listened to what the youth had to say, as some politicians just brush us off
Many did not take me seriously and said things just about my appearance, like “You’re so cute!” Or just smiled and nodded while I was talking but they weren’t actually listening, and didn’t reply or have a conversation
One man once patted me on the head and said, “Aren’t you a little princess!” I said, “Actually, I’m an entrepreneur”
Another big challenge was that there are not many opportunities for young children to be involved with volunteering or community service.
My mom had to create opportunities where I could participate.
I wish there would be more programs for younger people to volunteer, with their parents there with them to support them
Many programs are for kids age 12 and above
I often asked anyways if I could join. It never hurts to ask-sometimes the answer will be yes! Programs for youth are very important. We can meet like minded friends and learn from each other.
Its great to have people our age who are role models for us. I have many young role models, people like Malala, who show what young people can do
I was very lucky to meet Malala in person, and she is the person I admire the most
Mentors have been wonderful. They have been so supportive and have taught me so much. They have given me opportunities to learn and try new things. I have also found that being nominated or winning awards has made a huge impact.
I have met my fellow award nominees and winners, and made really great friends who have the same interests as I do
This year, in 2021, I have been fortunate to have been selected as a Top 30 under 30 award recipient through the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation
I am also currently working with the Young Canadians’ Parliament and a Senator’s office to advocate for the creation of a Federal Commissioner for children and youth in Canada
I have learned that you can make a difference at any age. Sometimes you have to find your own ways to volunteer and give back, but everyone is capable of making a difference in their community