Meet twin activists, journalists and filmmakers, Maryam and Nivaal.
For more than 10 years, Maryam and Nivaal Rehman (the co-founders of The World With MNR), have been activists. They began their journey in their village in Pakistan, and have gone from inspiring girls there to continue their education to advocating for girls around the world and representing their voices in front of world leaders at global forums like the G7 Summit. Read more about their journey below.
Maryam and Nivaal were eight years old when they first became activists for girls' education. They were visiting the school that their grandmother had donated her inherited land to build in their village in Pakistan, and met the girls who studied there. The girls told them they would quit school when they reached grade five because they would have to work to support their families. Maryam and Nivaal began working with the girls since then, and through empowering workshops, speaking to their parents and donating school supplies to them inspired them to continue their education. In 2015, they learned that some of the girls actually went on to high school. They continue to work with the girls in their village to uplift, support, and empower them in their education journey.
While Maryam and Nivaal worked with the girls in their village in Pakistan during family trips to the country over their lifetime, they continued to be leaders and activists for various causes in their local community back in Canada. They also led fundraising efforts for various causes at their school that supported organizations all over the world. In their final year of middle school, they fundraised for the Imran Khan Foundation and delivered the donation to Imran Khan in person during their trip to Pakistan in 2015. In high school, they were the leaders of eight social justice-based clubs including Youth In Action, Girl Up, Model UN, Students Together Against Racism and Environmental Council to name a few.
Maryam and Nivaal have worked with various organizations including the UN Foundation's Girl Up Campaign, the Malala Fund, and the David Suzuki Foundation to support their efforts through advocacy and storytelling. They have conducted interviews with world leaders like Malala Yousafzai, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ambassador Melanne Verveer, Dr. David Suzuki and Madame Christine Lagarde to name a few, all through collaborations with these organizations.
Maryam and Nivaal initially launched "The World With MNR" as a YouTube channel in 2016, as a platform to share the work they were doing to change the world, and inspire others to do the same. The World With MNR was meant to bridge the gap between the problems that exist in the world, and what viewers can do to help. Through their channel, they covered many events including the 2-day Social Good Summit by Mashable and the United Nations in New York City, WE Day Toronto and events with the Blue Dot movement. After The World With MNR evolved into a non-profit in 2019, the twins continue to share the work that they are doing through storytelling on their social media, as well as writing on their own blog and various online platforms.
Through their YouTube channel, Maryam and Nivaal have launched several documentaries highlighting important issues in collaboration with organizations like the David Suzuki Foundation. In 2018, they got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become Disney Filmmakers for the Dream Big Princess Project. They represented Canada in the project, and were two of 21 girls chosen from around the world. Most recently, they launched a documentary on girls' education in Pakistan which highlights the work that is being done to improve the state of girls' education in their village, and around Pakistan as a whole.
Maryam and Nivaal have worked with many organizations and initiatives around the world as activists and journalists. You can find out about some of their activities below.
Dream Big Princess
Virtual Youth Summits
The Disney Dream Big, Princess Project is a collaboration between Disney and the UN Girl Up Campaign to empower young, female filmmakers and make their dreams come true. 21 young girls from 13 different countries were selected to be filmmakers, and created digital short-films which were shared on social media with the #DreamBigPrincess.
In collaboration with Julie Carrier, top speaker for girls in the world, we launched "Virtual Youth Summits." These are a trusted and interactive LIVE Student Empowerment Distance-Learning Events for Individual Schools and School Districts. Each summit features Julie Carrier's special keynote on dreaming big, our talk about the formula to make a difference, and hit High School Musical star Monique Coleman's message of hope.
Maryam and Nivaal are both passionate writers who have used writing as a medium to share their story and the causes they care about through articles for digital publications, a book anthology, and more. You can find their list of published works below.
This is the must-read book for every woman.
"Brilliant, hysterical, truthful and real. These essays illuminate the path for our future female leaders." - Reese Witherspoon
MNR joined 52 women who were asked: what does the F word mean to you? The result is extraordinary.
In an innovative blog series for Huffington Post Canada, Maryam wrote a series of blogs highlighting some of the 17 global goals for sustainable development.
The series highlighted organizations working to make those goals become a reality, and included ways for readers to get involved and take action.
In their first blog for the Malala Fund, Maryam and Nivaal Rehman speak about their experience interviewing their Gender Equality Heroes, PM Justin Trudeau and Malala Yousafzai.
They highlight the work that they have done as activists, their dreams for the future, and how this experience impacted them.
In this field diary for the Malala Fund, Maryam and Nivaal speak about their experiences joining the Malala Fund in Whistler at the G7 Finance and Development Ministers Meetings.
They talk about interviewing world leaders days before they made important decisions about girls’ futures at the G7 Summit in Charlevoix. They represented girls all over the world when they asked leaders to invest $1.3 Billion into Girls' Education.
Maryam and Nivaal have worked globally for causes like girls’ education, climate justice, gender equality and inclusivity. Through their non-profit, The World With MNR, they use advocacy, storytelling and development to take action and inspire others to do the same.
They are using their Perspectives platform to share the stories of the women that inspire them, through engaging interviews with leaders, activists, and role models.
In this article for As Told By Women, Maryam and Nivaal Share their experiences while filming their first feature-length documentary film on girls' education in Pakistan called "Destined to Soar."
They highlight their journey leading up to the creation of this film, and also what it was like to go back to where their activism began nearly 10 years ago, and work with girls in their village in Pakistan
MNR's Awards and Honours
Governor General's Caring Canadian Award (2015)
Sovereign's Medal for Volunteers (2015)
Honours - Grade 9-12 (2016-2019)
Being ME Rising Muslimah Under 21 Award (2017)
Positive Pakistan Social Media Influencer Award (2018)
Canada 150 Youth Champion Award (2017)
Whitby Celebrating Youth Award (2018)
Myrah McLennan Humanitarian Award (2019)
Sinclair Secondary School Valedictorian (2019)
Pakistan Red Crescent Society International
Women's Day Award (2019)
William and Nona Heaslip Scholarship (2020 - 2023)