Sofia Scarlat is a seventeen year-old high school senior currently residing in Bucharest, Romania and serving as a 2019-2020 Girl Up Teen Advisor. Sofia has been involved with Girl Up for over a year now, but even in this short amount of time she’s had the honor of watching her Girl Up chapter – the first in Romania – grow tremendously and establish itself as the only girls’ empowerment organization for Romanian teens to date.
Girl Up Romania is comprised of a diverse team of 60 teenagers in 21 cities and towns across the country, reaching over 10 000 teenagers in-person and almost a million through social media campaigns (in a country of 4 million children), and aiming to promote gender equality among young generations.
Together, the team organizes everything from awareness video campaigns, workshops in community centers and schools to prevent violence in teen couples, to support groups, protests, marches and school walk-outs. They intervene in communities of at-risk girls, provide donations for Romanian survivors of human trafficking, connect teenage victims of gender-based violence with legal assistance, campaign and lobby in Parliament to make young voices heard on issues relating to girls’ rights, and co-organize major events such as the annual Bucharest Women’s March.
The team also aims to empower girls across the country though events relating to sports and involvement in STEM, but also offer the chance for young people to connect and debate with their representatives by hosting conferences in high schools with major public figures. On these initiatives, Girl Up Romania is able to collaborate with local NGOs, embassies, companies, and politicians.
While Sofia’s main focus throughout high school has been Girl Up Romania, her goal to amplify young Romanian voices expands outside of Girl Up as well. She’s a student journalist, working as the head editor for her school newspaper and contributing to several local bes a magazines including ELLE, where she publishes pieces on activism and education. She hosts a mental health podcast for Romanian teenagers, has organized a local TEDxYouth event, and is currently working on establishing the country’s first coalition of teenage activists. She was also the first teenager to be quoted within the Romanian Parliament, and a speaker at the 2019 edition of TEDxBucharest.