And Assembly readers from 13 countries tell us how they like to spend their time.
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1 August 2019 | Volume 2, Issue 3
  A note from our editor:
From rock climbing to building apps and astronomy book clubs, Assembly readers know how to keep busy! Today, girls from 13 countries share pictures of themselves doing their favourite activities. My reaction to all of these photos can be summed up with the following emojis: 😍 😱 👏 🔥 🤩.

Also in this issue, award-winning photographer Malin Fezehai tells us about her career documenting communities of displacement and dislocation around the world. We publish an excerpt from “Beneath the Tamarind Tree,” a new book that follows the story of four Nigerian schoolgirls held captive by Boko Haram. And digital illustrator Aurélia Durand talks about celebrating her Afro-French heritage through art.


Meet our readers
Girls from 13 countries share photos of their favourite activities and tell us why they love them
Favourite activities
  By Emma Yee Yick
Earlier this summer, we asked Assembly readers to tell us about their favourite activities — and they delivered.

16-year-old Öykü from Turkey sent a picture of her cleaning up trash from her neighbourhood beach. 13-year-old Beatrix from the U.S. described competing in showmanship tournaments with her chicken Jenebris. And 14-year-old Diana from Guatemala shared how her weekly astronomy book club inspired her to pursue a career in space.

See how girls around the world spend their time — when they're not reading Assembly, of course.
Favourite activities

“In this picture, I'm playing netball in a huge tournament! I'm the one with her arms up defending the ball. I love this sport so much because it got me active. When I moved to the UAE two years ago, I was home-schooled so I didn't have friends and I would stay inside doing nothing. My mom signed me up for netball and I loved it! I made new friends, learned self-confidence and got active.”
— Catherine, 14, South Africa
Favourite activities

“This picture depicts me and my chicken Jenebris after a show. I show chickens in Polk County, Oregon. I have shown chickens since I was 9 and have raised chickens since I was 3. I love my chickens. They are my best friends. They each have a unique and special personality. In the picture, I had just gotten out of showmanship. In showmanship, you show off the bond between you and your bird and you are tested about what you know. I also compete in conformation where birds are compared to a standard of what they should look like, like a dog show.”
— Beatrix, 13, U.S.
Favourite activities

“I belong to a book club. We usually read books about astronomy. I’ve learned a lot of things that inspired me to work at NASA.”
— Diana, 14, Guatemala
Favourite activities

“In this photograph, I had the honor to win first place in a painting contest, representing gender equality in school. For me, to paint or draw is one of the most beautiful forms of expression that can exist. Thanks to this great activity, I can connect with myself and also reach the hearts of people.”
— Vanessa, 15, Mexico

See more.
Career profile
Award-winning photographer Malin Fezehai captures Malala's travels around the world
Malin Fezehai photographs
By Taylor Royle
Malin Fezehai took her first picture at 16 years old — an assignment for a photography class at school.

“It was a picture of my friend’s little sister,” she says. “In the photo, she’s about 5 years old and standing under a bridge. It’s still one of my favorite pictures I’ve ever taken,” Malin adds. “And after that, I became obsessed with photography.”

Today, Malin is an award-winning professional photographer with a client list that includes the United Nations, The New York Times, Nike and Malala Fund. She has 365,000 followers on Instagram and has travelled to more than 30 countries documenting the daily life of refugees in Kenya, surfers in Senegal, Chinese opera in Thailand, climate change in Pakistan and much more.

“I love to travel to Brazil. Bali is one of my favorite places on the planet,” she shares. “And I’m always keen to work anywhere in West Africa and Senegal. I find the people there so beautiful and it’s such a dynamic place for photography.”

Before Malin travelled the world, she spent her childhood in Sweden. Her father, an immigrant from Eritrea, met her mother at a dance club. Her mom spilled her drink and her dad came over with the mop.

“My father became a nurse and my mom was a cleaner,” she says. “I grew up in a Swedish suburb, a very diverse neighborhood. We had neighbors from everywhere around the world, Kurdistan to Chile. Half the population where I lived was born somewhere else — different cultures, food and realities weren’t strange to me as a child.”
Artist spotlight
In Aurélia Durand’s artistic universe, people of colour take centre stage
Aurélia Durand
By Emma Yee Yick
Step into Aurélia Durand’s workspace and you will find an array of screens — “too many” if you ask her. But as a digital illustrator, these displays are Aurélia’s most indispensable tools. Her computer and tablet are her canvases, her stylus a pencil, marker, paint brush and eraser. Welcome to art in the 21st century.

Aurélia's mother is from the Ivory Coast and her father is from France — the 28-year-old’s heritage and childhood influence many of her decisions as a digital artist. Growing up as a black girl in the suburbs of Paris, she remembers feeling uncomfortable in her own skin. “I would say to my mom, ‘I don’t want to have my hair anymore. It’s too big. Everyone’s laughing at me. I don’t feel included.’ I grew up thinking I was wrong. Until I was 16, I was trying to be someone I was not,” she shares.

Through her illustrations and animations, Aurélia celebrates people of colour and their experiences. “I am going to create a universe that is more colourful, the universe that I wish I had when I was growing up,” she says. “In my characters, I want to make people of colour and especially black people shine and feel good and happy about their hair, happy about their roots.”

The black and brown bodies depicted in Aurélia’s creations are bold and vibrant, often drenched in the richest hues of purples, oranges, pinks, yellows and blues. “It is a joyful demonstration, a celebration,” she explains of her work. “It is bringing something new for the dominant culture.”
Book excerpt
In ‘Beneath the Tamarind Tree,’ award-winning journalist Isha Sesay follows a group of kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls who made it home
Beneath the Tamarind Tree
By Omolara Uthman
Kidnapped from their dormitory beds by Boko Haram insurgents in 2014, the 276 girls from Chibok, Nigeria made headlines around the world. But so little is known about these girls and their experiences — until now.

In “Beneath the Tamarind Tree: A Story of Courage, Family, and the Lost Schoolgirls of Boko Haram,” award-winning journalist Isha Sesay follows a group of Chibok schoolgirls who made it home. Isha introduces readers to Priscilla, Saa, Mary and Dorcas with firsthand accounts of the kidnapping, their years in captivity, and the resiliency and sisterhood that helped them survive.

As a CNN reporter, Isha was on the ground in Nigeria to report on the kidnapping in 2014 — and was the only journalist to accompany 21 of the girls back home. Her new book builds on that reporting and offers analysis on the Nigerian government’s response to the kidnapping, what was lost in the international coverage of the incident and why we must not forget the girls’ stories.

Isha shares with Assembly readers an excerpt from “Beneath the Tamarind Tree.”
Get published in Assembly!
  Assembly publishes original work by girls, for girls. And we would love to include your voice! Send us your ideas and you could be featured in the next issue.
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