Sisters Ananya and Anjana Murali are recent recipients of the Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast’s Young Women of Distinction Award, and were the keynote speakers at its Celebrate the Promise event. With a Rotary International grant, they co-founded Educate, Engage, Empower Inc., which has led more than 17 anti-bullying and peace workshops for students in India and the U.S. They moved from India to Montana when they were young children, and later moved to Wisconsin.
Anjana: “The year is 2001. I was just starting kindergarten in a new country… As a shy kid, my social skills were not the best for making new friends, and my classmates didn’t make it any easier. Most of them avoided me because of my skin color.”
Ananya: “When the 9/11 attacks occurred, the small Indian community in Montana became scapegoats for the event: our car windshields were smashed, we couldn’t go grocery shopping without being harassed, and people yelled at us to go back to where we came from.”
Anjana: “The fact is, most of a girl’s life is co-ed. But creating a girl-inclusive safe space promotes support among girls, and teaches them skills to grow and adapt to any environment.”
Anjana: “We have helped more than 5,000 students realize the value of their unique qualities and gain confidence in themselves, and we’re not done. Without Girl Scouts, we would not be the young women we are today.”
Ananya: “Gender equality is a major problem, but it is not predicted to be achieved for another two decades.”
Anjana: “If we mobilized girls to take action on issues they were passionate about, we could make a huge impact and inspire others to work toward a common goal.”