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STEPHANIE KURLOW

When the ballet schools in Sydney turned their backs on her, Stephanie Kurlow kept fighting for her right to dance. Now, 14-year-old Stephanie Kurlow is striving to become the world’s first professional hijabi ballerina.

Having converted to Islam at the age of 8, Stephanie Kurlow was dancing ballet at her mother’s dance studio in Sydney. But when she grew too old to continue dancing there, no other schools would accept her. The reason? Her hijab. She was required to take it off. But that didn’t stop Stephanie.

At 14, and now determined to become the world’s first hijabi ballerina, she still keeps on dancing to prove them wrong and to, as she says, bring the world together through her performing. When we heard of Stephanie’s story, we knew we wanted to help. So we gave her the first ever Björn Borg Game Changer Scholarship, to help her pursue her dreams and keep on inspiring more people. With the money, she could afford the tuition to enter a school that would accept her.

In the future, she has the ambition to open up her own performing arts school that caters to young people of all different races and cultures. Nobody should ever be left outside because of race, culture or religion. Stephanie’s story has now spread across the world, and has been told by several major news outlets. You go, Stephanie!