13-Years-Old Girl Gets Juice Thrown At Her Face, Punched And Even Shown A Knife By Schoolmates Only For Picking Up Litter

Meet Nadia Sparks, a 13-year-old student from Norwich, England, who took on the noble task of picking up trash on her way to school every day to help make the world a better place. Since she started her project, she has picked up over 1100 liters of garbage, much of which has been recycled, and she has inspired countless others to start doing the same.

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Image credits: teamtrashgirl

Nadia is exactly the kind of person we need more of, someone who cares about her community and the Earth that we all share. However, bullies at her school saw her positive behavior as something to use against her, and started taunting her with the name ‘trash girl.’

Image credits: teamtrashgirl

Undeterred, Nadia turned the bullying on its head by embracing the term, which she said made her sound “like a superhero.” She continued with her cleaning crusade and started up the ‘Team Trash Girl‘ Facebook page, where she encourages others to post their own litter-picking stories.

“I wanted to find a way to help everyone support one another, to help fix the planet’s problems before it becomes unfixable,” she writes.  “So, please try to pick up 3 pieces of litter today. Show us what you have found. Let’s all support each other to make the world a better place.”

Image credits: teamtrashgirl

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Image credits: teamtrashgirl

After her story first went viral in 2018, Nadia became an ambassador for the wildlife charity WWF and has won international recognition and awards. She was even immortalized in cartoon form, and, being a keen artist herself, is also publishing her own environment-themed cartoon in a local newspaper.

Image credits: teamtrashgirl

Image credits: creativenation

But her bullies didn’t let up. If anything, the attention that Nadia was getting only seemed to fuel their jealousy and bitterness. Nadia had cups of orange juice thrown at her, she was shown a knife and even punched, leading to police eventually getting involved and Nadia having to change schools.

Image credits: TeamTrashGirl/Facebook

Now at a new school, Reepham High, Nadia has a perfect teacher in Matt Willer, who she first met when they were both nominated for an eco hero award.

Mr Willer, who runs an allotment project, told the BBC: “I’d heard of the amazing work she was doing collecting rubbish and how, very sadly, she was being bullied because she was doing something different.”

“This hit a nerve with me and we discussed how Nadia might like to come and have a look at Reepham High.”

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Image credits: RHS

Mr. Willer said the teenager would be a “huge asset” to the allotment project.

“All the volunteers look forward to working with her as we all set a sound example about respecting the environment and living more sustainably.”

Nadia’s old school, Hellesdon High, said students’ safety and welfare was of paramount importance. “We promote an ethos that reflects high moral standards, a culture of social responsibility and fosters a safe learning environment for all students. All students are respected and their individuality is valued,” Hellesdon principal Tom Rolfe said.

Image credits: Bill Smith

But Paula Sparkes, Nadia’s mom, said her daughter was not supported at Hellesdon High. “The staff were not on her side to help and support her and we felt it was not appropriate for her to be there any more,” she said.

Image credits: theoutdoorguide

Image credits: theoutdoorguide

Nadia continues to go from strength to strength under her moniker of ‘Trash Girl,’ a name that was designed to taunt her but now brings her so much pride and determination. Her fans regularly upload their own pics of themselves cleaning up Britain on her Facebook page, some of which you can see below.

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Image credits: theoutdoorguide

Image credits: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJxsKXJ8moIcsxJOtzxJovg

What do you think? Would you do your bit by picking up 3 pieces of litter every day? Scroll down below to see others at work, and let us know what you think in the comments!

Image credits: TeamTrashGirl/Facebook

Image credits: TeamTrashGirl/Facebook

Image credits: TeamTrashGirl/Facebook

Image credits: TeamTrashGirl/Facebook

Image credits: TeamTrashGirl/Facebook

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