Runners up 2018

Closex

Africa

Stephen Molatlhegi

Stephen founded Tshwaragano Social Enterprise, a federation for small entrepreneurs from disadvantaged backgrounds and remote areas, who come together to form saving groups and support each other in growing their businesses. The enterprise has a membership of people who learn and share skills that they use to create income-generating projects and explore savings and investment mechanisms. The federation has created a social structure that enables entrepreneurs to inspire and solve their problems together. Stephen also works as a Poverty Eradication Project Officer in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development where he assists people to establish small enterprises to sustain their families.

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Javnyuy Joybert

Javnyuy is the founder of The Centre for Entrepreneurship, Leadership & Business Management Development (CELBMD) Africa, a skills and training development organisation, which offers training programmes to everyone from senior executives to high school graduates. In the past five years, it has helped more than 2,600 young Cameroonians develop the skills they need for their chosen career. It has also enabled 180 young people to start micro-businesses and 300 high school graduates to find jobs. In addition, Javnyuy runs CELBMD Africa Mobile Micro Credit Scheme (CAMMICS), which uses mobile technology to give microloans to women and young people. It has so far given out 305 microloans and has trained 1,500 people in income generating activities.

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Felix Apetorgbor

Felix educates people in his community about the importance of health. Growing up in a rural village, Felix saw that many people were affected by malaria and cholera so he founded the Hospital in the Home Foundation (HIHF) to provide education on first aid and preventive health. Felix and his team educate people through social media, online platforms and personal tuition. HIHF currently has members from three universities in Ghana and works to educate pupils from different schools in the region. The team has also set up a business summit group which provides financial investment and knowledge to people and a skills interest group that equips participants with basic employable skills. Felix also created a library in his community to enable young people to do their homework and set up a book club to inspire people to read.

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Mavis Mainu

Mavis mentors young girls in their education, professional development and entrepreneurship. She is the co-founder of Oak Foundation, which has established Girls Clubs in seven high schools. Each club has a membership of around 250 girls and, together with a group of volunteers, Mavis gives them guidance on their educational needs and she provides counselling. In the last three years the organisation has mentored nearly 1,000 girls. In the future Mavis hopes to provide financial assistance to students who need it. In order to fund the foundation, the team set up a 100 acre farm, which grows maize and cassava and it employs 15 women.

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Priscilla Naa Aklerh Okantey

Priscilla is the founder of ReachOut World Mission which works with children and adults on the streets of rural Ghana to reduce poverty. Priscilla was involved in a car accident and was physically disabled f­or 2 years. She realised how hard it was to make a living and from meeting other young people in similar situations while in hospital, Priscilla had a vision to help young people be self-sustained economically. ReachOut World Mission’s work has impacted over 5,500 youths, adults and children on the streets of Accra and in rural communities in five regions of Ghana through various initiatives. Their aim is to reduce poverty through skills training, access to health care and medication and community feeding programmes.

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Daniel Mutia Mwendwa

Daniel uses education to transform lives. After finishing high school he volunteered as a teacher at secondary schools in his community, inspiring students to achieve their best. He has also taught football and handball and has witnessed the effect sport can have on bringing communities together. After serving as the President of the Kenya Children’s Assembly, where he raised awareness of child abuse and neglect, early marriages and female genital mutilation, Daniel went on to become the organisation’s child development facilitator, a role that has allowed him to support other young leaders. He also leads a group called Voices of Change which visits local schools to provide mentoring for children.

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Dorcas Owinoh

Dorcas works to improve access to technology. She is the director of LakeHub Foundation, which encourages entrepreneurship and social innovation by offering young developers, entrepreneurs and innovators a place to meet, network, share ideas to find solutions to societal challenges. Dorcas and her team also offer technology training, business and coding competitions and mentorship programmes. She runs a project called Village Code, which teaches children aged nine to 19 in village schools problem solving, computer programming and entrepreneurial skills. So far 150 girls, working in teams, have built 11 mobile apps to provide solutions to problems around health, equality, education, gender and the environment.

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Evans Kiragu

Evans combines his passion of computer games with teaching young people about their political responsibilities. After teaching himself how to develop video games, Evans set up his own technology company, Mekan Games. As elections in Kenya approached he decided to build a video game that would teach young people about civic education. The game, which was called Knockout 2017, featured hundreds of peace messages and a section to learn what to look for in a leader. So far more than 2,500 young people have played the game and Evans and his team are now developing Knockout 2018, to start teaching civic education ahead of the next elections.

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Michael Murigi

Having grown up in a rural community often plagued by drought, Michael set up a community initiative called Focuswise on Cassava Initiative, to promote producing the root vegetable cassava as an alternative food source. He introduced improved varieties of the hardy crop, which are faster-maturing and more resistant to disease. Michael and his team now operate a demonstration farm, which is used to breed cassava planting materials and has so far trained almost 30,000 farmers and distributed 48 tonnes of cassava cuttings to 12,750 farmers. They have also established a small factory for farmers to mill the cassava. In addition, Michael hosts outreach meetings to educate new farmers about the benefits of cassava farming.

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Phenny Omondi

Phenny is currently studying agronomic engineering at university, and is working to help small-scale farmers in Kenya develop their technical farming skills. She founded DOPHIA Group in 2012, a social enterprise which trains farmers in Western Kenya in sustainable farming practices and financial literacy. Along with her team, she currently works with a network of 200 farmers, 60% of whom are women. DOPHIA also created the Akonya Women Group to provide help to women to run the financial side of their farming businesses. The group provides loans to increase access to capital and encourage further growth.

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Hastings Nhlane

Hastings is dedicated to ensuring more agricultural job opportunities for young people. He is the founder of the Associated Centre for Agro-based Development and Entrepreneurship Support (ACADES). The group was set up in 2013 as a youth agribusiness club in Lilongwe district, and has since grown to become the largest association of young farmers in Malawi. The association aims to provide a platform where young people in rural areas can be challenged to be more engaged in agribusiness. It has 171 clubs in four districts, where 75% of members are aged 18 to 30. Each member produces crops including maize, soya, beans and vegetables. The products are then processed, packaged and branded by ACADES, before being supplied to major retail outlets. The initiative has so far created 4,617 jobs.

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Emilia Shikeenga

Emilia is inspired by technology and works to include more women in the sector. She is the co-founder and vice-chairperson of Namibia Women in Computing Society and ACM Woman in Computing Windhoek Chapter. Through these organisations she has hosted the Women in Computing conference in Namibia in 2016 and 2017, which brought together women and girls with an interest in the computing field. As well as sharing her own experiences of a female working in computing at the conference, Emilia offered free coding sessions to around 100 women. In addition, Emilia and her colleagues organised a gender based violence (GBV) hackathon, where participants came up with solutions to try to curb GBV in their communities.

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Helena Kandjumbwa

Helena works to ensure that children from impoverished backgrounds have access to quality education. She is the founder of Upliftment Projects Namibia, which reconstructs makeshift schools in rural areas in order to provide safe and stimulating environments for children to learn in. She came up with the idea after volunteering for Hope Initiatives Southern Africa, a community-based organisation which assists communities living in the informal settlements in Windhoek, to teach orphans and vulnerable children for more than four years. Helena is also president of the Model United Nations – University of Namibia Club, an educational extra-curricular activity in which students simulate world leaders and discuss international issues.

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Abayomi Akanji

Abayomi is using his IT skills to improve access to education for young people in Nigeria. A trained computer programmer, he founded the Pass.ng platform after discovering that there was a 70% failure rate for students sitting the national university entrance exams. Most students lacked access to the standard learning materials needed to prepare for the exams. Pass.ng is now available as a mobile app or desktop programme to help students learn, practise and be ready for these exams. To date, it has helped over 300,000 students pass their exams first time round. Abayomi has also created an app called HiClass which allows students to share their academic challenges and receive feedback from other scholars. Currently, more than 45 scholars in Nigeria and the United States are using the platform to teach over 2,000 students.

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Aisha Waziri

Aisha promotes the rights of women and girls in her community. Since 2013 she has taught girls English, sexual and reproductive health rights and life-skills. Her aim is to help girls who have left school early to return to their education and prevent early marriages. She started a mentoring project to support girls in school to make informed decisions about their futures and train girls who are out of school in handiwork skills, helping them to become independent. Aisha also worked on a project called Community Led Advocacy to End Child Marriage, which engaged religious leaders on the issue, informed communities and supported young peoples’ involvement in the discussion.

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Anesi Ikhianosime

Anesi is working to make the Internet more accessible to people in Africa. From a young age, he was aware of the Internet’s educational potential, but was often left frustrated by slow web browsers, which made accessing information required for his schoolwork expensive. As a result, Anesi and his brother spent eight months using their coding skills to create their own online search engine called Crocodile Browser. Their browser, which is downloaded as an app, prioritises which content to load first, enabling it to operate faster. Currently, users spend about 30 minutes on the browser each day, during which time there are an average of around 170,000 downloads. Since its launch in 2015, about 1.9 million pages have been viewed through Crocodile Browser. It is estimated that it saves users 10,000 minutes and over 3TB of data use every year.

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Angela Samaila

Angela supports women in her community to become financially stable and independent through microfinance. She founded a co-operative called The Busy Bee, which provides women with small loans to start-up a business. Angela works with them and helps them to save a small amount of their profit each day, which can be invested back into buying materials for their trade. She has recently completed her year of national youth service, during which she taught English to children living in remote areas and educated the public about health issues such as breast cancer and HIV/AIDS, and social issues such as child marriages.

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Christiana Iyasele

Christiana is a chemical engineering graduate who strives to educate other girls about STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects. While at university she pioneered a STEM chapter to mentor and tutor secondary school students in practical, hands-on science. Christiana also volunteers for the WAAW foundation (Working to Advance STEM Education for African Women) and has taken part in school outreaches where she has shared her story, reaching more than 500 girls over the course of two years.

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Inioluwa Adesiyan

Inioluwa works to promote equal opportunities for girls. She is the co-founder of Young Girls’ Empowerment and Development Initiative, an organisation which visits girls in primary schools to provide them with the skills and support structures to become positive role models in their communities. The project aims to hone their ability to participate effectively in the classroom, take up leadership positions and excel in sports and science. The Initiative provides a one-week training programme during which girls learn about the importance of education, leadership and teamwork, personal health and hygiene and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. After each training programme, students who excel are rewarded and provided with mentoring to further help their development.

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Mohammed Alhaji Mohammed

Mohammed has a keen interest in maternal and child health. After gaining a master of public health degree, he worked at the development Research and Projects Centre as a communications and learning officer. As part of his role he worked on the ‘Saving Lives at Birth’ project, which aimed to change some of the child health practices among women living in rural areas of Northern Nigeria and encourage communities to accept childhood immunisations. He is currently working towards his PhD in public health.

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Oluwatosin Adedoyin

Oluwatosin provides educational support to young people in her community. She is the founder of Olatayo Educates, a social enterprise which helps public secondary school students learn vital life skills and improve their reading and writing. Since it was set up in 2016, Olatayo Educates has provided after-school classes to over 2,000 students in five schools across the city. Oluwatosin and her team organised a Quality Education Conference to discuss problems in the education sector and how they can be solved. Oluwatosin would now like to support secondary school students to gain vocational and enterprise skills before graduating.

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Princewill Onyekah

Princewill is striving to make environmental changes in Nigeria. Together with a group of friends, he co-founded Carryam.ng, a social enterprise working to eradicate the use of plastic bags in the country. After seeing the effect that plastic waste disposal was having in Nigeria, Princewill and his team began producing bags made from biodegradable products. They also carry out workshops to teach people about the benefits of using biodegradable bags instead of plastic and to increase environmental awareness. In the future, Princewill would like the Carryam.ng eco-friendly bags to be available free of charge to all Nigerians.

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Norbert Gasinzigwa

Norbert is working to improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable members of his community, including those living with HIV. He is the founder of Rwanda: Together We Can, which supports poor and under-educated Rwandans, particularly women living with HIV and their families. Norbert leads 60 volunteers who work with around 200 women living with HIV, to provide them with medical and psychological support. Norbert has also partnered with the local government to secure land in which to provide bicycle taxi drivers with safety training. He currently funds all the work himself, but would like to grow the organisation so it can become self-sufficient.

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Alex Nallo Jr

Alex founded the Institute of Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Development (iLEAD), a training centre and mobile education community initiative which is committed to building and supporting the next generation of leaders. Alex and his team train and mentor young people to provide community-centred solutions to emerging and existing problems they come across. Alex also hosts a radio show to motivate and inspire young people in Sierra Leone, which has more than 5,000 listeners. He is currently fundraising to build a leadership school in his community, which will offer after-school activities and leadership training for children and young leaders.

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Andrew Dauda

Andrew is a social worker and provides education for vulnerable children. He is the co–founder of the Children Assurance Programmes – Sierra Leone (CAP–SL), which addresses child protection, education and gender equality. The organisation provides scholarships to children from deprived homes and supports teenage mothers with their education. Andrew mentors and teaches young people in his community, including 15 Ebola survivors. Through drama, group activities and mentoring, he raises awareness of sexual and gender-based violence in his community. He has so far trained 42 volunteers and engaged with 14 schools to teach young people about the issue and to explain where people can access help if needed.

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Shivad Singh

Shivad believes in the power of education to change lives. While at university, he set up Presto Academy, which allows the top performing students in South Africa to create educational material for others. The content is available through study guides and online and currently includes four university and eight high school titles. Presto Academy also operates a ‘one for one’ model, so for every book sold it donates another to a learner in an underprivileged school. To date, it has sold more than 2,000 copies of its university guides and provides free content to 100,000 students via the Rishi-fi wifi platform. Shivad also partnered with cellular provider Vodacom, to offer the content at discount to its customers and has negotiated agreements to supply books to the country’s leading bookstores.

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Gcina Petros Dlamini

Gcina supports young entrepreneurs working in agriculture. At university Gcina, with fellow students, founded a company called Smiling Through Investments (STIN), which specialises in seed production. In March 2015, they hosted the first national agribusiness fair and school festival. The three-day event showed how agriculture can be a sustainable business model. Agriculture students were shown how they can work with farmers to address some of the challenges faced in the industry and how food security can be improved in Swaziland. In 2017 Gcina started Ignite Young Professionals Network, which aims to help young professionals establish themselves in the marketplace by connecting them through monthly forums and group meet-ups.

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Elia Timotheo

Elia is the founder of East Africa Fruits Co. which combines cold chain logistics and industrial scale solar drying to extend the shelf life of produce in rural Tanzania. Growing up, Elia watched his uncle struggling to make a living out of a small banana farm. This experience inspired Elia to look in to the issues farmers faced in his local community. In a country where 6 out of 10 people rely on farming for their livelihood, he identified that more than half of produce was not making it to market, causing mass food wastage and increasing greenhouse gas emissions. Since founding East Africa Fruits Co., he has constructed a process and distribution facility, has acquired refrigerated trucks to ship and distribute produce and has been working with farmers to reduce waste and increase their income.

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Hildah Chipo Mutale

Hildah works to encourage girls to achieve their potential. After winning an essay writing competition where she wrote about how she would help young girls in her community, Hildah was selected as a DREAMS Ambassador to work with partner organisations to mentor young girls. She works with Peace Corps volunteers to train girls through DREAMS Glow Camps and school clubs. Her work includes teaching participants about their sexual reproductive rights, how to manage their emotions and communication skills. She also hosts training workshops where she teaches baking, hairdressing and jewellery making, which are skills that could be used to provide income in the future. In addition, Hildah has launched a social media campaign called ‘I am Zambian, I am Woman, I am Human’, which aims to motivate girls to achieve their goals.

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Asia

Devanshi Rathi

Devanshi is using her love of chess to empower, educate and alleviate the hardships faced by local children in India. In 2016, she founded Project Checkmate to teach chess to underprivileged young people in her community. The project has since expanded and currently trains 40 students. Devanshi now also teaches the game to blind students, and runs mentoring sessions to help provide her young chess players with basic life skills. Devanshi hosts regular matches, quizzes, lectures and camps for participants, including accompanying them to local, state and national chess events. She has authored two books on how to play chess, which have also been translated into braille. Devanshi hopes to expand Project Checkmate to new regions, and diversify its work beyond chess by recruiting volunteers who can offer training in other areas.

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Piyush Ghosh

Piyush uses storytelling to encourage positive actions in her community. In 2014 Piyush founded The Optimist Citizen, a newspaper which publishes positive news stories from around the world. Its aim is to promote the best of humankind, even in difficult situations. Having started out with just a small team, The Optimist Citizen now has a community of more than 250 young people and has a total monthly readership of approximately 4,000 people throughout 20 cities in India. The paper’s stories range from those about unsung heroes and good governance to acts of courage. Piyush would like the ‘positive news’ concept to be implemented across the Commonwealth by engaging young people in each country to report on their local positive stories.

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Roshan Kokane

Roshan is working to educate young people about gender rights and sexual and mental health through digital campaigns. He uses his skills as a journalist and photographer to help organisations working in the field to reach young people and raise awareness of their projects in India. He has hosted two sexual health conferences in India, which were attended by over 5,000 young people. He regularly holds open mic nights, film screenings and discussions on various sexual and mental health topics. Roshan is in the process of setting up the project ‘It Helps’, a digital platform where young people can talk openly and seek advice about mental health and sexual health. In the future, he would like to help the LGBTQI+ community in India to access healthcare and education more easily.

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Saima Khan

Saima helps transform young people’s lives by working with them to find creative solutions to challenges they face. She is the founder of Step Up, which provides a platform for young people around the world to work together to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The group organises activities such as tree planting, recycling drives, beach clean-ups, and events for adults and children with special needs. Saima is also the brand ambassador for the Protect Your Mom Campaign, which has encouraged over 90 schools from around the world to run breast cancer awareness campaigns. In addition, she launched the Thirst Relief project with PennyAppeal in the United Kingdom to build wells in countries including Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

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Sharad Vivek Sagar

Sharad is working to equip the next generation with educational opportunities. Growing up in a remote part of India where there was a lack of schools, Sharad was home-schooled until the age of 12.  His mother moved to the city for his education and he secured scholarships to continue his education at a higher level. He was able to get an education most people from his background were not fortunate to receive. Sharad set up Dexterity Global to help people from similar backgrounds as him. Dexterity Global has four major platforms; DexConnect connects low income students to educational opportunities, DexChallenges helps hone their skill sets, DexSchool of Leadership and Entrepreneurship is a summer school which mentor’s children and youth to become global leaders, and Dex2College helps young people with the transition to college through boot camps.  Sharad and his company are on a mission to connect even the remotest child with the best opportunities.

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Felicia Yoon

Felicia is broadening access to education for young people across Malaysia. A teacher by profession, she co-founded the Arus Academy after discovering that many students living in rural areas or from low socio-economic backgrounds did not feel education was relevant to them. Set up as a social enterprise, the academy offers a free after-school learning centre that teaches students how to actively address problems in society by building and creating their own physical and digital solutions. To date, Arus Academy has helped 1,200 students, trained 360 teachers and written 10 modules for the Ministry of Education. Felicia and her team are now working to develop and pilot an integrated secondary school curriculum for state schools across Malaysia.

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Nigel Boon Wei Sim

Nigel is a teacher who encourages students to use technology and engineering to find solutions to real-life problems. Having introduced the idea into a school he was working at, as part of the Teach for Malaysia programme, he went on to co-found Chumbaka. The organisation teaches students from five schools on a weekly basis about technology and prepares them for innovation competitions. They have so far worked with more than 100 students and 50 teachers. One team of students took part in the #mydigitalmaker Global Exchange, organised by the Malaysia Digital Economy Cooperation, and won tickets to an event in Silicon Valley in the USA.

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Junyong Wang

Junyong helps vulnerable members of society achieve their full potential through arts-based training. After struggling at school with undiagnosed dyslexia, Junyong discovered the positive impact of Taiko drumming, a Japanese art form. Junyong went on to found Mangrove Learning, a social enterprise that runs an alternative arts programme to help engage and transform the lives of vulnerable young people by teaching them drumming skills. Mangrove Learning also created the first ‘Eco-Taiko’ drum out of recycled materials, making Taiko drumming affordable for all. Having found out how it can benefit young people, Junyong is working on a research project to measure the impact of Taiko drumming on people living with dementia.

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Manas Punhani

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Navodinee Wickramanayake

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Caribbean and Americas

Gabrielle Davida Gay

 

Gabrielle believes in the importance of encouraging children to read from a young age. She is the creator of The Gabrielle Gay Trophy for Excellence in Reading, a rewards-based reading and literacy mentorship programme which has been in operation for 13 years. The project, the only one of its kind in Barbados, currently runs in 58 of the country’s 68 primary schools. As part of her work, Gabrielle hosts sessions where children are encouraged to read via motivating and interactive reading and story-time sessions. Parents are also given take-home advice on how to assist their children’s reading. The programme runs a ‘Reading Made Fun’ mentorship programme, with summer camps across Barbados and reading competitions in schools. Gabrielle also liaises with businesses and charities to provide mentorship sessions, books and academic materials for primary schools and libraries. The programme also rewards primary school children annually at their schools’ Graduations with a Trophy for Excellence in Reading. This trophy rewards the Highest Achieving Reader or the Most Improved Reader of that particular graduating class.

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Justin Rice

Justin helps prisoners to reintegrate into society. He is a member of Open Doors, an organisation which goes into prisons to advise/guide/encourage people about how they can turn their lives around. His work has included leading a weekend retreat for young men, where participants were encouraged to consider their past behaviour and identify their strengths, helping them to move forward. Justin has plans to run an Open Doors project to provide after-care for people who are released from prison but still require support to reintegrate back into the community.

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Nikola Simpson

Nikola raises awareness about environmental conservation in Barbados. She works with Slow Food Barbados, an organisation that promotes the reduction of imported food in order to support local farmers, fishermen, chefs and small-scale producers. She teaches primary and secondary school children how to grow their own crops sustainably and without the use of chemicals. Alongside this she runs sessions about fisheries in Barbados, promoting and supporting responsible and sustainable fishing practices on the island. Nikola also volunteers with the Plastic Oceans Trust, educating people on the threat of plastic pollution, primarily in oceans, and encouraging them to reduce the amount of plastic they use as well as providing alternatives to plastic.

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Alicia Raimundo

Alicia is working to empower young people to overcome mental health stigma and to create treatments that are accessible and fun. Inspired by her own struggles with mental illness, Alicia has been involved in a variety of projects. Alicia is the co-chair of the ACCESS Open Minds Youth Advisory Committee and the Youth Action community centre for Children and Youth in Challenging Contexts. She has shared her story on numerous stages including at the United Nations, the Federal Standing Committee on the Status of Women, TEDXWaterloo and One Young World. Alicia has also written a book for schools to educate young people on suicide.

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Ashley Rose Murphy

Ashley educates people about HIV. She was born with the virus and from an early age spoke publicly about it to members of the medical community and on television. She founded an organisation called OutLoud on HIV, which works with universities in seven countries to reduce the stigma of HIV. She also volunteers as an Ambassador for Elizabeth Glaser Paediatric AIDS Foundation and Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research to encourage HIV testing, prevention and advocating for adherence to treatment if positive. At the age of 16 she started speaking at WE Day, an organisation that celebrates young people making a difference in their local and global communities, educating young people about HIV and encouraging them to accept their differences.

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Ashley Whiteman

Ashley works to ensure that the voice of young people is heard in the decision-making process at a political level. She is a member of the Prime Minister’s Youth Council and organises community events at schools, youth groups and organisations that profile issues important to young people in her province. She is part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters National Youth Advisory Group and also provides one-to-one mentoring to disadvantaged young people who are part of the programme. She has also worked with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to improve the quality of life for members of the Indigenous community.

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Jayson Derow

Jayson is committed to building peace and security among young people. After serving in the military, he went on to co-found the Youth Atlantic Treaty Association of Canada (YATA Canada), which educates and promotes co-operation among young people in NATO Allied and Partner states. As the organisation’s president, Jayson works with students and young professionals to build the next generation of policy leaders, through creating volunteering opportunities, encouraging open dialogue through forums and debates and by developing leadership skills. In the future, he would like to host a model NATO conference to bring together young professionals, graduate students, scholars and professionals to recognise the current realities of conflict and to effectively reinforce the transatlantic link.

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Joshua Miller

Joshua raises awareness of mental health. After training in peer-support facilitation and suicide intervention, Joshua became a youth engagement facilitator at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)’s McCain Centre for Child, Youth and Family Mental Health. He has also served as a youth facilitator at the Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario Initiative, during which he held discussions with young people and their families in Ontario about how the services available to them can be improved. In addition, Joshua is a youth expert on a national study which is being carried out to improve the transition process from child and adolescent mental health services to adult services. He is also the co-facilitator of CAMH’s National Youth Advisory Committee, where he leads a network of young volunteers who want to see improvements to the Canadian mental health system.

 

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Melissa Fairey

Melissa is passionate about gender equality, sexual and reproductive health rights and community development. She created and founded the York Region Youth Sexual Health Network and their Youth Sexual Health Empowerment project. The project addressed the gap of access to resources in the York Region where there are large rural, isolated and indigenous communities. The project has provided access to free and inclusive sexual health resources where it did not previously exist to young people in her community. She has worked on projects for the United Nations and International Youth Action for Family Planning. Melissa was selected as the only Canadian Young Leader Fellow in Women Deliver’s 2015-2018 class and also serves as a World Contraception Day Ambassador. In 2015 the Governor General of Canada gave her a ‘Caring Canadian Award’ and a year later she received the Volunteer Medal.

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Glenroy Murray

Glenroy promotes the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, women and young people. After training in law, he became the Policy and Advocacy Manager of J-FLAG, a human rights organisation which serves the needs of LGBTQ+ people in Jamaica. In his role he raises awareness among members of the LGBTQ+ community about their rights, speaks to political leaders about the challenges and triumphs of the LGBTQ+ community and engages the public on the importance of law reform. Glenroy is also the Policy Officer at WE-Change, the women’s affiliate of J-FLAG. There he holds legal education sessions and raises public awareness around gender equality. He has been appointed to the National Youth Advisory Council of Jamaica, a group of advisors to government officials, who help to include youth issues in policy development and law reform.

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Faustina Edward

Faustina helps to educate and care for disadvantaged people in her country, young and old alike. At 15, she joined the Youth On Fire Movement (YOFM), a group working to change the lives of young people. In 2014, she helped develop the YOFM After School Assistance Programme to provide one-to-one tuition to disadvantaged students, helping them to improve their grades at school. Since then, over 60 young people have benefitted from the programme. Faustina was elected YOFM President in 2016, and has since organised a free annual medical clinic to help members of the Anse-la-Raye community, in particular senior citizens, who are unable to afford medical care. She has also started the Christmas Good Turn initiative, dedicating Christmas Eve to delivering presents to senior citizens and children living in disadvantaged communities.

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Shauna Charles

Shauna works to help young people reach their potential. Having been involved in youth work since the age of 13, Shauna recently set up Bloom Incorporated, a not-for-profit organisation which supports young people in Saint Lucia. One of their first initiatives to be run by Shauna and her team, as part of the Lotus Programme, was a free summer camp for disadvantaged children in the city of Castries. The children attended lessons, took part in recreational activities and received three meals a day. Shauna is also an active volunteer of the Caribbean Centre for Family and Human Rights and in the future would like to see more young people getting involved in community issues.

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Europe

Günperi Sisman

Günperi is helping young people in Cyprus to develop skills in technology. After studying abroad in the USA and the UK, she returned to Cyprus and leaded the Computer Science Education Initiative of the Cyprus Child Foundation. To date, the initiative has provided free intensive courses in computer coding to 150 young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Following its success, the initiative will soon expand to two cities and double in size. To further engage 18-26 year olds, Günperi works with volunteers at her university to facilitate the participation of local teams in Google Hashcode, an international coding tournament. In addition, Günperi works with Startups4Peace, and she is a mentor of the bi-communal CyInno mentorship programme.

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Rachel Portelli

Having been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of three and a half, Rachel dedicates her time to supporting others and raising awareness of the condition. While studying at university, she began volunteering with the Maltese Diabetes Association, helping out at summer camps, organising activities and attending lectures and seminars as a speaker to share her experience of living with diabetes. Rachel has been chosen as an International Diabetes Federation Young Leader in Diabetes Candidate. Rachel also helps to organise events to raise awareness of the condition every year on World Diabetes Day and discusses how it affects her life.

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Cairn Newton-Evans

Cairn champions the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community within the United Kingdom police force. As a volunteer police officer, (known as a Special Constable) with Dyfed-Powys Police, he is also the youngest Chief Officer of the Special Constabulary in Great Britain, leading a team of more than 110 officers. As part of his role, Cairn works as a Hate Crime Support Officer and LGBT Liaison Officer, specially trained both to offer additional support to victims and to officers investigating in to hate crimes and incidents involving the LGBT community. Cairn is committed to educating young people about hate crimes and the effect they have on victims, families, friends and the wider community. He speaks regularly on the issue at universities, colleges, schools, and to both youth and professional groups.

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Hayley Mulenda

Hayley is determined to raise awareness of the importance of mental health in UK universities and schools. She has led workshops, talks and presentations on the issue at 16 universities and schools, and reached more than 8,000 students. The workshops aim to teach students how best to prepare mentally for and deal with university life. She has also partnered with African-Caribbean Societies in universities to discuss how mental health experiences can be more widely talked about within the black and minority ethnic community, where the subject is often still considered taboo. In parallel, Hayley has written a book called The ABC’s To Student Success, which teaches young people how to improve their mental state through daily life lessons. She has also travelled to Uganda, where she has run mental health workshops for hundreds of young people.

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Joshua Powell

Joshua is an environmentalist, focused on increasing understanding of the role of biodiversity in conservation. He has been involved in conservation projects across four continents and has produced scientific papers about conservation management in Commonwealth countries including India, Malaysia and Singapore. With the support of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, Joshua now leads a project documenting innovative practices in island conservation in the Commonwealth South Pacific region. The aim is to use this knowledge to improve island protection systems elsewhere, including in the United Kingdom. He has been named a National Geographic Explorer for organising the Rangers Without Borders – Eurasia Expedition, which will collect data on the efforts of rangers working to protect endangered species across Europe and Asia.

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Lucy Watts

Lucy is a powerful and determined voice for the young disabled community within the United Kingdom. With a complex, life-limiting form of neuromuscular disease herself, Lucy uses social media, the Internet and the media to raise awareness of a range of disability topics, including difficult issues such as palliative care. She also supports other people with illnesses in managing their conditions. At only twenty-four, Lucy already holds positions, including ambassador, trustee and steering group member, with seven charities working to improve the lives of disabled people. Lucy sits on the NHS England Complex Needs Board as a lay member and representative of people with complex needs. Her work includes writing blogs and articles for the media and the charities with which she works.

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Pacific

Jeffrey Effendi

Jeffrey uses design and media to raise awareness of the issues facing vulnerable people. He is the founder of DrawHistory, a social enterprise that works with non-profit organisations to amplify the stories of people who’ve overcome challenges in their lives to bring changes to society. Jeffrey and his team have so far helped more than 100 social good organisations to tell their stories, ranging from environmental sustainability to mental health, which in turn has helped raise $500,000. He is also the Vice-Curator of the World Economic Forum Global Shapers Community in Perth, where he manages community programmes, including a crowdfunding dinner for social entrepreneurs and a panel series where leaders who work in areas such as humanitarian aid share their stories.

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Mary Pilkinton

Mary raises awareness about young carers and the issues that they face. She is a New South Wales (NSW) Young Carer Leader and advocates for young carers in front of media and politicians. She has set up a young carers support group and is a NSW representative on the Australian National Young Carer Action Team (ANYCAT) where she produced a short film called #YCproject. Mary is also interested in Indigenous education and works with Girls from the organisation Oz (G-Oz), which takes performing arts programmes to girls in rural and largely Indigenous communities. Over the last three years, she has raised more than $4,000 for G-Oz through her school and choir.

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Nicholas de Bres

Nicholas raises awareness about mental health and wellbeing in his community. Over the last two years he has run mental health forums at schools, which have engaged over 1,000 students. The forums bring together panellists including psychiatrists, psychotherapists, counsellors, police officers and young people who have experienced mental health issues. The panellists answer anonymous questions from the students. Nicholas has also volunteered for five years at the Holdsworth Community Centre, and was recently appointed as the youngest serving disability support worker. Over the years he has helped to raise $28,000 for the centre. In the future, Nicholas would like to set up an organisation called All the Right Questions, where mental health professionals provide advice to students in rural schools.

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Daniel Gamboa Salazar

Daniel is committed to helping people seeking asylum settle and find homes in New Zealand. When, in 2012, he came to New Zealand as a refugee from Colombia with his family, he discovered that young refugees find it particularly challenging when arriving in a new country. As children often learn the local language faster than their parents, they frequently end up becoming the de-facto heads of their households. In many cases, they suffered from traumatic stress disorders as well, and had to abandon their education. His memory of these challenges spurred him to set up the New Zealand National Refugee Youth Council (NZNRYC) a few years later. Since its inception in 2015, the NZNRYC has provided training to 35 high schools on how to assist refugees. It has also been successful in persuading the government to pass legislation that enables high schools to employ teacher aides to support refugees.

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Injy Johnstone

Injy works to provide support to children in care. In 2015 she founded the Foster Child Support Network, which offers support to young people both while in their foster homes and after they leave. Injy leads a team of volunteers who provide advocacy and advice to foster children throughout New Zealand, and provide weekly mentorship and practical support for those living in the Otago area. Her long-term goal is to expand the one-to-one support for children in care across New Zealand. Injy is also passionate about the environment and after discovering there was a large disconnect between scientific research and the general public, she launched Envi.nz. The online hub is focused on connecting the community, science and sustainability to raise awareness about protecting the environment.

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Lydia Dimokari

Lydia promotes the importance of education in her community. She is the founder of Mission Vibe, an initiative that helps to provide education and training to young people aged 12 to 25 who have left school early. In 2016 she worked on the Equal Playing Field project, which ran programmes in schools to talk about the importance of safe homes and happy families, with the aim of reducing violence against women and girls. Lydia’s work has been recognised by the United Nations Development Programme and she has been named as a Youth Champion for Sustainable Development Goals.

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Amelia Kami

Amelia works to empower women in the Pacific islands. Following the death of her sister to cancer, Amelia and her family created a fund for children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases, which is supported by an annual sponsored WOWS (Walk On Walk Strong) Walk in Tonga and Fiji. She also founded the WOWS Kids Fiji organisation, which cares for more than 30 sick children, and provides scholarships for students at the Queen Salote College in Tonga. Amelia is also a musician and shares a positive message to women about their rights through her music.

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Winy Marango

Winy supports young people to play a positive role in their community. As a volunteer for Youth Challenge Vanuatu, Winy mentors group members and runs activities to help build a strong community. One of the programmes she works on is the Through Their Eyes Project, which brings young people together with community leaders to discuss ways of addressing the needs of the community, for example, introducing a recycling scheme at the local school. Winy is also a senior officer at CARE, an international humanitarian aid organisation which focuses on working with women and girls in Vanuatu to create sustainable change in the community.

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