Today is International Day of the Girl, and to celebrate, Beat teamed up with The Shona Project and Makes Cents to host an amazing free event called Shine 2019 at the WIT arena.

The event saw over 1,000 female transition year students travel from across the South East and there were many topics discussed over the day that young girls have to deal with in day-to-day life. Some of those topics covered: mental health, well-being, body image, resilience, diversity and equality and they were presented to the crowd by a number of inspirational female speakers from across the world.

Shine 2019‘s speakers included:


Razan Ibraheem: A Syrian journalist, refugee human rights activist and advocate for young people.
Sarah Doyle: A life coach and TEDx speaker, returning for a second year by popular demand.
Niamh Fitzpatrick: A leading Irish psychologist, and sister of Rescue 116 Captain Dara Fitzpatrick 

The conference featured a musical performance from Soulé, one of Ireland’s leading young pop and electronic music vocalists. She was joined by the viral phenomenon Mount Sion Choir as the event drew to a close.

Shine 2019 serves to build on the resounding success of the inaugural Rise 2018 which featured speakers Ellen Coyne, Caroline Foran and Nikki Bradley in a day that ended in a group sing-song and a room full of bubbles.

This year’s event was brighter, bolder and louder than the last one, and with the help of the Shine 2019 partners, the booked-out event was completely free for schools and attendees who attended from Waterford, Wexford, Carlow, Kilkenny and Tipperary.

Beat opened up nominations to the public, to nominate a young girl they thought deserved a Shine Hero place.

SHINE Heroes is run by Beat in association with the Shona Project in Waterford with the aim of finding five inspirational girls living in the South East, one from each county. All five girls took part in today’s special event to mark International Day of the Girl

Each finalist was chosen for their own special actions. These include:

Wexford SHINE Hero Olivia Smith who is caring, loving and a big believer in helping others despite her own medical setbacks.

Waterford SHINE Hero Ellie Mulcahy who has raised over €6,000 for Crumlin’s Children’s Hospital and almost €14,000 for the Waterford and South Kilkenny Branch of Down Syndrome Ireland.

Tipperary SHINE Hero Hannah Smith who was nominated by her cousin, who says she is “Creative, selfless and loving.”

Kilkenny SHINE Hero Caoimhe Keher Murtagh who has ended up on nine school sports teams in three different sports won countless medals and received a nomination for soccer player of the year just 12 months after starting in a secondary school in which she knew no one.

Carlow SHINE Hero Emma Hogan who has twice donated 16 inches of her own hair to the Rapunzel foundation for young girls in need of wigs.

All of Beat’s Shine 2019 heroes were interviewed on Beat 102 103 during the week, along with their friends and families. If you would like to listen back to any of the episodes or interviews, you can head to Beat102103.com/podcasts. 

Speaking after the event today, Beat’s CEO Gabrielle Cummins said, “it was just absolutely phenomenal and one girl came up to me there and went, ‘it totally exceeded my expectations’ and that’s exactly what we wanted to do – inspire loads of young girls, and we did!

“They have walked away here knowing that they are strong, that they are enough and that they should just believe in themselves and be happy and have the confidence to do whatever they want to do.”

This event comes as The Shona Project announces the launch of ‘The Survival Handbook for Girls’, an essential companion for young women which deals with topics including negative friendships, dealing with anxiety and even advice for protecting the environment.

The book is available for free to first year girls, and The Shona Project can print and deliver their copies subject to their school filling in the dedicated form. Otherwise, the book is available at a price point of €7.95 from The Shona Project website.

Tammy Darcy, Founder of The Shona Project said, “It moves me to think that thousands of second cycle students can refer to this book in times of need, or simply to learn more about themselves and the world that they live in.

“In writing this, we took special care to address absolutely everything that young women are faced with, including self-esteem, mental health and online safety, to create a comprehensive handbook that is the companion my generation never had,” she added.

Everyone in Beat 102 103, Makes Cents and all involved with the Shona Project are already looking forward to next year’s event for International Day of the Girl.

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