Celeste Mergens: 2019 Global Hero Award Recipient
When I received a call from Kristen Daily, executive director of Global Washington, a few weeks ago, I was excited to hear from her. Global Washington is a Seattle-based organization whose mission is to promote international development by coordinating the efforts of other globally-minded philanthropic, research and business organizations. As a longtime Washington resident who started Days for Girls from my home, I have been a long time member and admire the work that Global Washington does.
But what Kristen shared with me took my breath away! When she informed me that I had been selected to receive the 2019 Global Hero Award, I was amazed. Days for Girls began only 11 years ago, with one simple idea: to bring menstrual supplies to an overcrowded orphanage in Kenya. That idea has taken on a life of its own and we have turned “impossible” into “possible.”
A day when all girls have the menstrual supplies they need to stay in school is achievable in our lifetime. A day when women are not shamed for having periods is achievable in our lifetime.
This award, a lifetime achievement award, has been given out to heroes of mine including Bill Gates Sr., co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Jennifer Potter, former CEO of the Initiative for Global Development and Bill Neukom, founder of the World Justice Project. You can imagine what an honor it was to be following in their footsteps. The honor of this award and the awareness that is arising from it wouldn’t have happened if it weren't for all of you.
As I prepared my speech, all of you were on my mind. I couldn’t have done this alone! I’m honored to receive this award, but I want to dedicate it to you. To the 65,000 Days for Girls volunteers. To the leaders of 148 DfG Enterprises. To the countless members of Chapters and Teams across the globe. To our amazing DfG staff. But especially, I dedicate this award to the 1.5 million women and girls that we’ve had the honor of serving since 2008.
This one is for you. 🧡