Toni Garrn is not only a supermodel, but an advocate for the rights of children around the world having been involved with Plan International since the age of 16.
Plan International is an organization that works closely with poverty-stricken communities within developing countries helping alleviate poverty for children and to develop solutions aiding in long-term sustainability. Toni first started her work with Plan when she was just a teen by sponsoring her first child (now she sponsors three). She is also an ambassador of Because I Am A Girl, a global initiative of Plan International hoping to give girls their basic human rights; food, clean water, education, and protection from violence and exploitation.
After spending two weeks in Zimbabwe with Plan International, Toni exclusively sat down with E! News to share her experience and her mission as a Because I Am A Girl ambassador.
"I was always very fascinated by how much can change as soon as you give a girl the right to go to school, as long as you can read, or if she has some sort of basic information, she knows she can stand up against her parents or question her tradition of, 'Why am I supposed to get married at 10 years old?' In Zimbabwe the number of girls who go to school there are actually quite high but the main issue I saw was transportation. Their schools are so far away, there aren't any school buses, and the schools are so far away that some just drop out because of that, they can't physically get there, they are 4-10 years old and can't walk that long. And there is also security issues on the way, a lot of them really do get raped on their way to school."
Toni continued, "I want to raise enough money to start a school bus business. This could also help women who don't have jobs because a lot of women, all they do is walk water from point a-to-b because distances are so far, the water fountains are so far, I did it myself, I had a water bucket on my head for over an hour because I went with a girl to see how she does it and I had the biggest migraine of my life afterwards and she was laughing at me, she's like 10, 'I do this 4 times a day, then I go to school, then I clean the house.'"
Toni shared that she's constantly coming up with new ideas on how to give back and to raise money but that coordinating and bringing people together can be difficult which is why she's partnered with BidKind, an online charity platform helping to bring likeminded people together.
"It can be quite a lot of work to get everyone together and organize things so it's really great that BidKind exists."
A few days ago in Mykonos, Toni BidKind hosted a dinner to raise awareness for BidKind and money for the girls in Zimbabwe, "So many of my friends, people who like to be involved in charity and who have the money, they're all in the Mediterranean in the summer. I'm very much in love with Greece, I lived there for a year growing up. I wanted to make it very easy to get a lot of generous people together. School buses can be quite expensive, close to $80,000 dollars. My goal would be to raise enough for a few busses but if not we can always buy bikes."
Thankfully the dinner was successful in raising enough money for a few buses. Garrn was extremely happy and is excited to collaborate with BidKind in the future.