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Activism has no age limit. You can be an advocate, a policymaker or run for office in your community right now. Here are just a few of the many young AAPI activists who are using their voice to make a difference. 

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Inspired by their grandmothers’ work for women’s rights in Pakistan, Maryam and Nivaal focus their activism on storytelling and filmmaking from a woman’s perspective.

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Each week The Globe will profile a Canadian making a difference. This week, we’re highlighting the work of Maryam and Nivaal Rehman doing advocacy and storytelling at the same time.

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In another year of bad news, the stamina and perseverance of women across the world has again stood out.

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Meet twelve young activists from around the world,  whose stories are guaranteed to inspire you.

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Maryam and Nivaal Rehman discuss feminism, their experiences as activists, and mental health in this interview.

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MARYAM and NIVAAL REHMAN became activists when they were eight years old, inspiring girls in their village in Pakistan to continue their education. The now 19-year-old twins have since worked for such causes as girls’ education, climate justice, gender equality and inclusivity. 

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They've met world leaders and visited Trudeau and Malala, but twins Maryam and Nivaal Rehman are excited for a big first -- voting. Mark McAllister speaks to the UofT students and activists about what the vote means to them.​


Meet twin activists Nivaal and Maryam Rehman. They're 18, passionate about girls' education and about to take the next step in their own education @UofT. #backtoschool

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“We think that the education of girls can truly transform them, and eventually their communities too. When an educated girl starts implementing changes for the better in her family and community, the whole society changes, cultural shifts occur and ultimately these lead to the overall empowerment and upliftment of women too, because educated girls are better equipped to fight for their rights.”


When they were just eight years old, Maryam and Nivaal Rehman (MNR), became activists. Since then, the 19-year-old twins have been campaigning towards issues such as girls' education, climate change, gender equity and inclusivity in their local and global community.

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Even though #COVID19 has exacerbated existing inequalities, it is also a unique opportunity to address challenges to education in ways that might have not been possible without the urgency presented by a pandemic, say education activists Maryam and Nivaal Rehman from Pakistan.

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Are you a first-time voter? Are you having trouble deciding how you'll cast your ballot in October? Maryam and Nivaal are first-time voters too. CBC's Heather Hiscox asked them what issues matter to them. #CBCNN


Usually when one would talk about interviewing UN Leaders, or even a Prime Minister, we’d expect the interview to be conducted by CNN or BBC, or a similar media outlet – but never had we expected two 17-year-old girls to have been at the crux of the action, spearheading the questions and gathering the answers.

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Twin sisters Maryam and Nivaal Rehman can barely remember a time when they weren’t involved in activism. Now second-year students both double majoring in International Relations and Peace, Conflict, and Justice (PCJ), with a minor in Women and Gender Studies, their activism journey began in Pakistan at just eight years old. 


Twin activists and journalists on their Kashmiri heritage and identity, film-making with Disney, and pursuing international relations at U of T as Trinity College students.

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You’re never too young to change the world. These twins were eight when they became activists for education.

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Twin sisters Maryam and Nivaal Rehman visited family in Pakistan and were inspired by their grandmothers to work on the cause of girls' education and empowerment. They've just completed a documentary film about the lack of girl's access to schooling in Pakistan and on people who are working to improve opportunities.


On March 8 at the Houston Seniors Centre, the eighth annual Houston International Women’s Day Event is being held. With guest speakers, Maryam and Nivaal Rehman. The girls are 17-year-old twins living in Canada, who have been activists ever since they were eight years old. They have worked in their local and global community for causes such as girls’ education in Pakistan and around the world, along with running several clubs in their school including Students Together Against Racism, Model United Nations, Youth In Action and Environmental Club to name a few. 


Maryam and Nivaal are 17-year-old twin activists, journalists, and high schoolers. They are making a name for themselves as social justice advocates working with many organizations, most recently the MalalaFund, the UN Foundation’s Girl Up Campaign, and Disney’s Dream Big Princess Project as filmmakers. They are also building a youth activism program that aims to inspire and engage youth around the world to join their efforts in making a difference. They have recruited young folks from Mexico, England, Pakistan, India, the US, and more to contribute to their media platform, The World with MNR.

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The new project aims to give a voice to aspiring storytellers and inspire young women around the world to help them achieve their goals.


Disney princesses have been inspiring and empowering generations of girls for decades. With that in mind, Disney and the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up program have partnered on the 2nd installment of its #DreamBigPrincess campaign. 21 girls and women from 13 countries were selected and will receive training on how to make digital short films about their female role models.


Maryam and Nivaal Rehman, 16 year old activist vloggers, joined the Malala Fund at the G7 Summit in Whistler, BC.

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As I sit right now, I am staring at the walls of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC inscribed with the words “nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate than that these people are to be free. Establish the law for educating these common people. This it is the business of the state to effect and on a general plan.”


“You can talk about lots of injustices in the world, but ultimately, if we don’t have a clean environment, nothing else matters.”


Twin seventeen-year-olds Maryam and Nivaal Rehman of Whitby, Ontario are living out their commitment to making the world a better place. As long standing members of the United Nations GirlUp initiative, they connect with other girls via YouTube and social media to inspire, discuss and promote their causes including girls’ education and the environment. Maryam and Nivaal have just returned from a trip to Florida to celebrate Disney’s Dream Big Princesses from around the world.  They were given phones and a crew and headed to Ottawa to meet with their Hero and make a film about her. We chatted with the sisters in Toronto.


When they were just 8 years old, the Rehman sisters, set out to change the world.

As storytellers, entrepreneurs and the founders of ‘The World with MNR’, the sisters from Whitby, Canada, now 17, are speaking out for the next generation of girls.


Twin teenage activists from Whitby recently had the opportunity to interview world leaders at the G7 finance meeting in Whistler, B.C. Maryam and Nivaal Rehman, who are in Grade 11 at Sinclair Secondary School, were invited to the meeting on behalf of the Malala Fund.


We asked 10 girls — ages 9 to 17 — what they want to change about the world.

We partnered with Girl Scouts and Malala Fund to hear about their hopes for the future, and how they plan to help one day.

Maryam and Nivaal, 16-year-old twin activists in Canada, sum it up best.


Amid a thunderous applause and bouts of admiration, Malala Yousafzai was recently conferred with an honorary Canadian citizenship. The reasons to celebrate the momentous occasion were many. She delivered a stellar, humour-laden speech with focus on girls' education, poked fun at Justin Trudeau's tattoos, and basically won hearts left, right and center. But there were two other girls in the hall who're as inspirational as Malala herself.We asked 10 girls — ages 9 to 17 — what they want to change about the world.Maryam and Nivaal, 16-year-old twin activists in Canada, sum it up best.


Good Morning America's Adrienne Bankert Launched Disney and the UN Fopundation's Dream Big Princess Campaign on a Facebook Live discussion and interviewing four of the filmmakers in the project, Maryam and Nivaal Rehman, Jessica Zhang, and Sarah Gulley.


For International Day of the Girl, Disney fans combined fashion and their love of Disney for some pretty special looks. All across the Disney Parks, fans celebrated the inspirational day with Disney bounds of female Disney characters. Here are some of our favorite looks from the day.


Fast-talking 16-year-old twin activists Maryam and Nivaal Rehman joined Malala Fund at the G7 Finance and Development Ministers Meetings yesterday to ask leaders about their plans to make girls’ education a global priority.

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DENVER AND TORONTO VIA EMAIL—Maryam and Nivaal Rehman, 15-year-old Pakistani-born Canadian twins, are your normal teens— with one exception. At the tender age of eight, when many young girls are still playing with dolls, the sisters began a career in global activism for girls’ education.

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Standing up for girls’ education, environmental rights and gender equality, Canadian teens prove the power of youth voices. YouTube journalists, WE ambassadors and documentary creators — these are just a few of the many titles shared by twin sisters Maryam and Nivaal. Their resume is impressive, especially when you consider the fact that they are only 15 years-old.


WHITBY -- Twin sisters Nivaal and Maryam Rehman set up a unique photo booth at the Harbour Day event on July 23 to draw attention to the Ontario Environmental Bill. The girls are part of the Blue Dot Movement, a national campaign started by the David Suzuki Foundation and Ecojustice to advance the legal recognition of every Canadian's right to a healthy environment. 

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