bebe Creator: Georgie Badiel

We want you to know the women who inspire us. That’s why we’re kicking off a brand-new blog series about those who spark meaningful change: the bebe Creators Project. Up first? Model and philanthropist Georgie Badiel, who recently modeled in bebe’s Spring 2017 presentation and whose story is making a difference while bringing awareness to an issue close to her heart.

As a young girl in Burkina Faso, a landlocked nation in West Africa, Georgie walked three hours every morning to get water for herself and her family. During the dry season, when the hot, dusty Saharan wind blew through her village, even the water faucets at Georgie’s school ran empty.

During her first year of high school, Georgie’s father told her he couldn’t afford tuition for the second. That’s when she began modeling to make money, first as a fit model for local designers and later in local beauty pageants, where she was named Miss Burkina Faso in 2003 and Miss Africa in 2004, winning a contract that sparked her career.

After finding success as a model, Georgie went home to visit her family and saw that her sister, who was nine months pregnant, still had to wake up early to fetch water every morning. This was when Georgie decided it was time for a change, so she started the Georgie Badiel Foundation to provide the resources her village needed to have fresh water without walking three hours to get it.

Today Georgie’s foundation provides resources and training to thousands in need. The foundation has restored more than 20 water wells, trained 50 local women in well repair, planted more than 1,000 trees to help with fruit growth and to help halt further desertification and educated more than 600 students on hygiene practices. In Georgie’s words, she “saw the need and had to take action.”

Georgie has continued to spread awareness by co-authoring the children’s book The Water Princess, based on her childhood experiences carrying water for her family. Proceeds from the book’s sales go to the Georgie Badiel Foundation—so Georgie can keep creating change in the world. We think she’s amazing.