An impressive roster of nineteen accomplished female photographers from fifteen countries created a series of empowering photos showcasing real-world girls and women as part of Disney’s ongoing “Dream Big, Princess” initiative. Their images kicked off a new social media-based, photographic campaign aimed at helping to drive a $1 million donation from Disney Worldwide Services to Girl Up, the UN Foundation’s program supporting adolescent girls’ leadership and empowerment. Since being unveiled on August 15th, the campaign has already hit its goal.

From one of the first female staff photographers at National Geographic to winners of the International Picture of the Year, World Press Photo Award for Nature, Commonwealth Photographer of the Year, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News, each of the 19 participating photographers was challenged by Disney to find and document stories with the power to inspire kids around the world.

Dream Big photographers

All participating photographers

Spotlighting a diverse range of stories and girls for the campaign, their subjects included the youngest ever speaker at the UN, a gold-medal-winning Chinese Paralympian, the founder of the first female cycling team in Bamiyan, Afghanistan, a teenage author of a STEM coding book for kids, and a young surf champion from Brazil.

annie griffiths disney

photo of Girl Up Leader, Miriam Farooq (16), by Annie Griffiths

lulu liao disney

photo of Rong Jing (29), who overcame childhood polio and became a fencing champion, by Lulu Liao

Ashima Narain disney

photo of girl defying tradition in India and continuing to pursue her education by Ashima Narain

margarita karma disney

“This is my own little dream of flying in the sky.” – Photographer Margarita Karma

paula bronstein dream big

photo of Zaika (23), one of the first girls from the Bamiyan region of Afghanistan to ride a bike, by Paula Bronstein

ronin cohen Dream Big

photo of champion windsurfers, Maya Morris (18) and Yarden Isaac (17), by Ronin Cohen

laura zalenga dream big

photo depicting the importance of imaginative play and dreaming big by Laura Zalenga

As per the parameters of the campaign, from August 15-October 11, 2017, Disney Worldwide Services pledged “to donate US $1 for any public post of a photo using #DreamBigPrincess or like of such a post on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, for a minimum donation of US $500,000 and a maximum of US $1 million” to Girl Up.

As the campaign and hashtag quickly spread all over social media, the donation goal was met in less than a week. However, Disney is still encouraging social media users to continue posting photos online with #DreamBigPrincess through October 11th – International Day Of The Girl – to keep the inspiration flowing.

Since its launch in 2010, Girl Up has funded UN programs that promote the health, safety, education, and leadership of girls in developing countries and built a community of over half a million passionate advocates. Their girl leaders, representing more than 1800 Girl Up Clubs in 90 countries, “stand up, speak up, and rise up to support the hardest to reach girls living in places where it is hardest to be a girl.”

Disney launched its “Dream Big, Princess” initiative in 2016 to “encourage kids everywhere to dream big by highlighting key story moments and the inspiring qualities that each Disney Princess showcases through her adventures, such as Merida’s bravery, Cinderella’s kindness or Tiana’s perseverance.” The company adds, “While each princess has her own unique and admirable qualities, what they all have in common is resilience and an ability to triumph over adversity to make their dreams come true.”

Lead photo by Ami Vitale, featuring one of the elephant keepers at the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary in Kenya