Another year is coming to an end, and here at Shona HQ, we’re putting on our out-of-office, sneaking the best bars from our selection boxes (the Curly Wurleys obvs) and looking back at all that we’ve achieved this year.
2023 was our biggest year yet, but it was tough, we’re not going to lie.
We pushed ourselves harder than ever before, so we could support more girls and have more impact. Our Shine Festival was the biggest event we’ve ever had. We welcomed 2,000 girls in person and 18,000 online along with 161 speakers. We built an online platform so every girl in Ireland could take part, and we went above and beyond to ensure that every single girl in Ireland could see herself and the issues she cares about represented. We delivered another 35,000 handbooks to 1st-year girls in hundreds of schools. We delivered workshops to 7,153 girls in every county of Ireland. We continued to show up with passion and positivity. Check out the highlights below or the rest of our impact here.
Was it tough?
Was it worth it?
Sadly this year, Shona passed away, and we were so overwhelmed and heartened by the hundreds of messages, cards and flowers we received from our friends and supporters. In August we held the first ever Shona Memorial Soccer Tournament, which was attended by over 160 girls. Our hearts are full and fuelled and we will continue to celebrate her life and build her legacy.
We realised that to create a movement of change, we can’t do it alone. We asked for help, and people responded, they donated, volunteered and engaged with us, always with open hearts and minds.
All of the team here at Shona have continued to be inspired to come together by our own personal stories, some of which we’ve shared, and we are passionate about helping others, and building communities so every single girl in Ireland can be happy and content in her own skin, and appreciate everything about herself that makes her special and unique. We have come to realise that sometimes our struggles are what make us so special and that we are not broken, just a little bruised, but we come back fighting regardless.
With some old friends and a lot of new friends, we have continued to form an army of girls and women who are truly creating a positive impact through our movement. We were delighted to accept the European Citizens Prize in October and to see our ambassador programme grow to over 100 girls! 2024 will be bigger than ever, we’re only getting started.
We know that there are many of us who will find Christmas tough, who might feel unseen and alone. There are some who find school really difficult for many reasons, who are exhausted, and who just need a break to recharge. There are some who have difficult relationships with food, and find Christmas dinner and parties really stressful. There are some who are stressed, worried, lonely, sad, or scared. To those girls we would say, please reach out, ask someone for help, and talk to someone. You are important, and your voice needs to be heard. Our wish for you is that you find peace next year, and that you are able to look back on these challenges and feel proud that you managed to overcome them, or that you’ve found ways to cope. We hope that you find people who make you feel safe and loved and that you truly believe that you deserve it… because you do.
We hope you all have a really lovely Christmas, we will see you all again soon our friends
Nollaig SHONA Duit
From all of us x
If you would like to support us and the work that we do, you can find out more below