For most of my young childhood, I dreamed of growing up to be a National Geographic photographer. I certainly never imagined that I would dedicate my life to advancing rights for women and girls around the globe, but here I am.
It's a mission I feel in my bones. And each October 11, as the global community celebrates the International Day of the Girl, I think about the girl I was growing up, the opportunities I had and the challenges that existed, and how my work has taken me across the globe to meet so many phenomenal women and girls.
I think, too, about how many of today's girls will go on to become advocates for equality, decision makers in their communities, and even world leaders.
There are more than 895 million girls just 14 years old and younger in the world today. Their potential is limitless -- if given the chance.
Yet too many girls are stifled by hunger, poverty, violence, a lack of education, and inequality.
This year, Women Thrive Worldwide is putting a stake in the ground and saying enough is enough. The world's girls have our support. They have the support of millions of young women in America.
Today, we're proud to launch the #GirlLikeMe campaign.
This campaign is about building a movement of young women in America who see themselves when they look in the face of a girl from Ghana or Honduras.
These young women are pledging to stand strong, and to help girls around the globe have what they need to thrive. They believe that every girl, no matter where she lives, deserves:
Who are the young women behind #GirlLikeMe? They're women like Ebony from Washington, D.C. and Jillian from Atlanta. The guys are even getting in on the campaign.
Not every girl has the resources she needs to break free from violence and poverty and some of life's toughest, most persistent challenges. But together, we can move mountains.
Want to get involved in the #GirlLikeMe campaign? Visit us online at www.womenthrive.org/girllikeme
Follow Ritu Sharma on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@womenthrive