After growing up being bullied in school, Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams is focusing on how younger generations can make social media a positive place. As one of PEOPLE’s 25 Women Changing the World, the 19-year-old exclusively tells PEOPLE the reasoning behind her inspirational mission.
“I think we have an idea of who victims of bullying are, and actually it’s anyone really,” shares Williams. “There’s no separate thing about me that made me, ‘the bullied.’ ”
“It can happen to absolutely anybody,” she adds, “And I wanted to get that across and let young girls know that you shouldn’t feel different for being bullied and you shouldn’t feel singled out.”
Williams also emphasizes that there’s “no reason” for bullying. “There’s nothing about you that made you the victim. It’s just mean people,” says Williams, who personally “didn’t enjoy school” as a kid.
“I loved being in the classroom and I loved my group of friends, but school as a whole, I actually didn’t get on very well,” she admits.
In fact, it surprises people when they learn Williams, who plays Arya Stark in the hit TV series, was bullied.
“People say, ‘Oh, that’s so strange that you got bullied,’ ” she shares. “And I’m like, ‘It’s so strange that anyone gets bullied.’ We are the most developed generation
in terms of talking about difficult subjects, homophobia, and sexuality, and racial issues. That’s what I love about us.”
Still, if Williams could change the world in just one way, she would “love for people to wake up one morning and be more accepting. Wake up and not just turn a blind eye to what’s going on in the world, and wake up and want to make a change,” she explains.
The actress believes that if everyone took responsibility then “everything would be a lot easier” and “the world would be put to right a lot quicker.”
“I’m not the reason that five million refugees are in refugee camps in Greece, but I’m going to do everything I can to try and change that,” adds Williams, who got the opportunity to go to Greece earlier this year and work with the International Rescue Committee.
“I’m going to make the second half of this year my mission to try and better their lives,” says Williams of how she’s turned her efforts to helping better the lives of Syrian refugees.
“You can’t have a small percentage of the population living like this,” she adds, while raising her hand, “And the rest in dire poverty. It’s not acceptable.”