“I remember sitting in Mrs. Medlin’s English class last year and finding out that Malala is the exact same age as me–there I was sitting around doodling when someone who could be my peer is out changing the world!” So after over a year of thinking about what she could do to help, Little Rock, AR teen, Olivia Fredricks, a lifelong artist, brought a charitable project to life that beautifully captures the mission of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate who inspires her.
Of realizing that the bravest of the brave girls, Malala Yousafzai, was her contemporary, Olivia wrote on her Instagram page, “It put things in perspective.” And that very same day she drew an original design for a line of fundraising T-shirts that she intended to sell and donate 100% of the proceeds to the Malala Fund, a non-profit led and inspired by Malala that’s focused on helping girls go to school and raise their voices for the right to education.
“When you buy a shirt, you are helping young women in underprivileged areas around the world receive education.” – Olivia
With her plan underway, Olivia added, “I’m ready to stand by Malala and see #thelast girl without access to education.” There was only one problem… she didn’t know how to do printmaking. So she took classes to learn the linocut technique, in which a sheet of linoleum is used for the relief surface.
Last April, with this new skill at her disposal, Olivia started the “labor intensive” but “definitely worth the effort” process of hand printing her bold and brightly colored T-shirts, one by one. To her surprise and delight, she blew through her inventory almost immediately.
When there was not a single tee left to sell, Olivia proudly shared on Instagram, “We sold 81 shirts and raised (after the cost of production) $765.87 for the Malala Fund!!” She added, “That’s so much more than I expected! I was absolutely amazed by the amount of positive feedback I received.”
So what’s next for the budding philanthropic artist who believes “nothing beats the sharing of art”? She just graduated from high school in May and is now on her way to the University of Arkansas where she’ll study studio art. Olivia also intends to continue her altruistic creative endeavors in some way. According to the Malala Fund Blog, “Even though she doesn’t have any concrete plans for her designs, she would like to create more shirts to raise money for nonprofits or charitable organizations.”