‘Together We Can Change The World’

A member of Griffeen Valley Senior Branch has scooped top prize in the Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship (SAGE) World Cup in South Africa!

Aoife Dardis (18) took first place in the Socially Responsible Business Category along with two of her school friends, Caoimhe and Katie.

The three young women have created – and published – ‘No Limits’ children’s books that feature heroes/heroines with a disability. The books promote inclusion and diversity and the girls are generously giving the proceeds to charities that support people with disabilities.

Winning the SAGE World Cup was “completely and utterly overwhelming”, says Aoife. “It came as a real shock to us! …. It was honestly the most amazing feeling in the world!”

The idea behind the books is to show that a disability is not a disability as such, but a different ability. “My cousin, Niamh, suffers from severe epilepsy and Katie’s dad, Colm, has cerebral palsy and is hence a wheelchair user,” says Aoife. “Myself and Katie get to see every day how our relatives are just the same as every other dad and cousin despite society not seeing them the same way. Of course there are some everyday things that their disability complicates for them but everything they do – and can do – make them, in our eyes, their own kind of hero.”

The ‘No Limits’ books are available online but the girls are hoping to get them into school libraries and plans are afoot to translate the books into other languages so that they can be sold in other countries too. The girls have already brainstormed ideas for further ‘No Limits’ titles.

Aoife joined IGG when she was seven and, as well as being a member of Griffeen Valley Senior Branch, she also helps out with Tír na nÓg Brownies. “Being part of IGG has completely changed my life,” she says. “I have learned so much about myself and about others.

“IGG has offered me the most amazing experiences, such as the 2013 trip to Switzerland or singing at the ceremonies of Camp 101 in Roscommon. The only reason I wasn’t on this year’s Chief Commissioners Award was due to the SAGE World Cup in South Africa!

“I have made friendships for life and also found non-biological sisters. The most important thing I think I’ve gained from IGG is how to be a confident girl and, to quote Camp 101, ‘Together we can change the world’.”